In an apparent bid to further defend the refusal by President Muhammadu Buhari to give assent to the Electoral Act (Amendment), the Presidency has said the Card Reader was not included in the latest Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018.
The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, who made this clarification in a statement in Abuja, said it is necessary to guard against false allegations by opposition politicians that the card reader provision in the Bill was one of the reasons the president withheld assent to it.
According to him, the card reader provision addressed by section 49 of the Principal Act was completely, expressly and unequivocally excluded.
“It is not in anywise, part of the provisions of the bill forwarded to the President on August 3, 2018, and could therefore not form part of the consideration of the President,’’ he said.
He agreed that though there was card reader provision in the two previous amendments of the Bill, but it was never mentioned as a subject of disagreement between the president and the National Assembly.
He said: “For further clarity, the Bill of February 20 had 43 clauses, and the revised Bill of June 27 had 41 clauses.
“The current further revised Bill of August 3, which now excludes the card reader, has just 15 clauses in the absolute wisdom of the National Assembly.
“And the President has no constitutional or legal authority to add or remove any provision to or from what the National Assembly has transmitted to him.’’
The president’s aide noted that by withholding assent to latest transmission that excluded the card reader provision, Buhari had actually preserved the card reader.
This, he explained, was an opportunity for the lawmakers to restore the card reader provision when reconsidering the Bill “in its absolute legislative discretion’’.