The joint Senate and House of Representatives committee working on the Electoral Act 2010 Amendment Bill, from which President Muhammadu Buhari had withdrawn assent three times, has passed the bill for the fourth time.
The joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, while briefing journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, denied removing the Electronic Card Reader, with which voters are accredited during elections, from the bill.
The committee, which said the National Assembly and the Presidency were on the same page concerning the amendment bill, stated that it had only harmonised versions of the legislation and passed them as a fourth bill.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission, Senator Suleiman Nazif, who is chairman of the joint committee, recalled the reasons cited by Buhari for rejecting the bill on different occasions as well as what the lawmakers consequently did on the legislation.
The lawmaker described the bill as “an issue of utmost national importance.”
Nazif said in part, “It is an opportunity for Nigerians to hear what we have done, how far we have gone, what transpired from the first Electoral Act Amendment Bill, to the second one, the third one and now to the fourth one.
“I also want to assure colleagues and Nigerians that this joint committee is committed to ensuring that it strengthens INEC and at the same time, the National Assembly is also committed to deepening democracy in Nigeria. I also want to use this opportunity to assure Nigerians and everyone here that the National Assembly and indeed the executive are on the same page with respect to this amendment bill.
“I am sure that you must have heard different versions…I will put everything in a very clear picture so that Nigerians will know that all of us are working towards strengthening INEC and ensuring that 2019 (election) is done is a free and fair electoral process, and even beyond. Therefore, I will like to assure Nigerians that we are working very hard and we have come to the conclusion, and you will hear the details right now.”