President Muhammadu Buhari says he is committed to the use of card readers for the conduct of free and fair elections in the country.
In a statement issued on Wednesday night, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said contrary to reports in some sections of the media, President Buhari was in support of the use of card readers for the 2019 General election.
He said: “Our attention has been drawn to incorrect and misleading reporting in several newspapers regarding the status of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018. The Presidency would like to set out the true status of the Bill.
“The Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was sent by the National Assembly to the Presidency at the end of June 2018, for assent. Following extensive consideration, the Presidency engaged with the National Assembly to raise concerns regarding errors and inconsistencies found in the submitted version.
“Following this, the National Assembly, on July 24, 2018, met to review and correct the Bill. The Bill was given, on July 24, 2018, a “clause by clause consideration” by the Senate.”
Shehu added: “The Votes and Proceedings from the Senate on July 24, 2018, attest to this. The Senate resolved to rescind its decision on a number of clauses included in the version they had earlier sent for consideration by the President, and to reconsider these clauses.
“According to the Senate Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday July 24, 2018: “The Senate: … notes that in the course of final cleaning of the Bill as passed, some provisions were found to negate the essence of the amendment; [and] Resolves to: Rescind its decision on Clauses 3,5,8,11(2), 13(b), 14 (4), 15(3), 18,21,23,24,28,32 and 38 of the Bill as passed, and recommit same to Committee of the whole for reconsideration and passage.”
“The re-considered Bill was passed by the Senate on July 24, 2018 the same day that plenary was adjourned to September 25, 2018. The revised Version of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018, with corrections by the National Assembly, and dated the 2nd of August, 2018, was received by the Presidency on the 3rd of August, 2018.
“The President has 30 days from the date of receipt, to assent to or decline the Bill. The Bill is therefore still under consideration by the Presidency,” he said.