The Presidency has put in place an elaborate plan to frustrate the implementation of the amendment to the Electoral Act 2010 that has proposed alterations to the sequence of the general elections in 2019 and beyond.
By the amendment, the National Assembly election will be conducted first, followed by state Houses of Assembly elections and governorship elections, while the presidential election will be conducted last.
The amendment to Section 25 of the Electoral Act, which was substituted with Section 25 (1) has been adopted by a joint session of the electoral committees of both chambers of the National Assembly and is expected to be passed by their plenaries before transmission to the president for assent.
According to the amended version, the elections shall be held in the following order: (a) National Assembly elections; (b) State Houses of Assembly and Governorship elections; and (c) Presidential election, on separate days.
But the presidency fears that the fate of President Muhammadu Buhari may have been sealed by the time election into the National Assembly, state assemblies and the governorship have been concluded, and is, therefore, strategising to frustrate the implementation of the amendment.
A source conversant with the plan told THISDAY that the presidency is viewing the amendment as a “coup” against the president, and must be vehemently resisted.
“For obvious reasons, the presidency is not comfortable with the new sequencing of election as proposed by the National Assembly and will do everything possible to ensure that the 2019 elections are not conducted in accordance with the new amendments to the Electoral Act,” he said.
According to him, the president will not only veto the amended bill when it is sent to him for his assent, he would also encourage the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to challenge it in court.
“The Presidency expects that the National Assembly will override the president’s veto. That is when the second phase of the plan will be activated,” the source said, explaining that INEC would be working hand in glove with the executive to thwart the mandatory re-ordering of the elections. More: