- The Independent National Electoral Commission had received a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari
- The president in the letter had sought the opinion of the commission and the Attorney General of the Federation of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill passed by the National Assembly
- INEC has already responded to some of the controversial issues raised by the president in his letter to the commission and the AGF
As the 30 days required for the president to either assent to or communicate to the Nationals Assembly his views and comments about the Electoral Act Amendment Bill draws near, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reacted to the letter sent to the commission by President Muhammadu Buhari.
INEC in its response said, constitutionally and legally, the commission is the end-user of the electoral legal framework under contention.
The Punch reports that the INEC chairman of the information and voter education committee, Festus Okoye, said it is strategic and fundamental to seek advice from the commission and other stakeholders like the president have done in his letter.
Okoye said INEC and other critical stakeholders opinions should form the basis in the electoral bill debacle before the legal framework becomes law.
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Okoye added even though the president has until December 19 to make his decision known to the National Assembly, the commission will go through the bill and revert to President Buhari within the time.
INEC's position on cost and direct or indirect primaries
Reacting to the issue of cost implications of elections, Okoye said it is quite unfortunate that fundamental issues have been overridden by direct or indirect primaries.
He said while it is difficult to have a definite budget for elections, the commission would ensure that it sticks to the provision of the bill when passed into law.
He also noted that the commission has always monitored primaries whether direct or indirect as conducted by various political parties.
Okoye, however, noted that INEC cannot dictate the mode of primaries to adopt to political parties in the country.
"In other words, the procedure adopted for the direct primaries shall be spelt out in guidelines to be issued by the political party and filed with the commission at least 14 days before the primary election.”
Also, Premium Times had reported that the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) had called on the president to assent to the bill.
The NLC's national president, Ayuba Wabba, in a statement said this is the time to strengthen democracy in Nigeria.
Wabba also the most important issue stipulated in the amendment of the Act is direct and indirect primaries by political parties.
President Buhari writes a letter to INEC and AGF
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that President Buhari had taken steps to ensure he takes the best decision about the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
The president had sought the best advice from experts in the field of the electioneering process and legal matters over the bill.
He sent a letter to INEC and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, on the right steps to take over the new bill.
Politicians undermining the efforts of INEC
Also, INEC had alleged that politicians in the country go the extra mile to frustrate the efforts of the commission in delivering free, fair and credible elections.
The commission said politicians across Nigeria are focused on undermining the commission's effort to deliver seamless elections.
According to the commission, INEC focuses on the best ways to eliminate some of the hitches and challenges encountered in elections.