A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana has stressed that under the current constitutional dispensation, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has the sole right to fix dates for general elections in Nigeria.
He said this on Friday while addressing the controversial reordering of the 2019 election sequence by the National Assembly.
Mr Falana told Channels Television that the amendment made by the legislature in 2010 in sections of the Electoral Act to the effect that the National Assembly would have the last say on elections is illegal.
“It is the height of legislative absurdity to stipulate that the constitution of the country which is the granum will be read subject to an act of parliament, it’s the other way round.
“But since that alteration was made, all the cases that have gone to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court have been resolved in favour of the powers of INEC to fix dates for elections in Nigeria and that remains the law.
“In other words, the purported amendment or the insertion of the phrase ‘in accordance with the electoral act’ has not conferred the National Assembly with the power to fix election dates,” Falana stressed.
Presidential and National Assembly elections have always held (on the same day) before other polls, while the governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections follow.
But the lawmakers have amended the sequence such that the National Assembly polls would be conducted first, followed by the state lawmakers, and the governors while the presidential election should take place last.
Asked if the amendment can be implemented by INEC in the 2019 general elections, the National Commissioner, Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Solomon Soyebi said: “Unfortunately, yes, if the amendment becomes a law now.
“If it’s assented to by the President, it becomes a law. We have no basis to disobey the law; we have to work within the law as it is.”
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