The implication is that the Senate has concurred with the House of Representatives on the proposal that the presidential poll be held last in the order of polls in 2019 and subsequent general elections.
The concurrence was reached at a meeting by the joint National Assembly committee in Abuja on Tuesday, where the amended clauses in the Electoral Act were put to voice vote and all the clauses were unanimously adopted as amended by the House.
With the proposed amendment, the National Assembly election would now hold first, followed by the governorship and state House of Assembly polls, and later the presidential election.
The Senate had in 2017 passed an amended version of the 2010 Electoral Act, while the House of Representatives in January 2018 amended the Electoral Act to change the order of polls in the 2019 general elections’ timetable.
The reshuffle of election dates came barely a month after the Independent National Electoral Commission released the timetable for the general elections.
Consequently, the Senate had on January 25, 2018, constituted a conference committee to reconcile the Senate’s version of the amended Electoral Act with the version passed by the House of Representatives.
On Tuesday, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, Suleiman Nazif, who is also Chairman of the Senate panel, said both chambers had mutually agreed to the amendments.
He said, “This is the position of the conference committee as regards to Clause 25(1); we are upholding the position of the House of Representatives unanimously.”
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, the Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Conference Committee, Edward Pwajok, said the National Assembly would determine the next move should President Muhammadu Buhari fail to assent to the Electoral Act amendment bill.
He said, “From here, we are going to consider other items that need concurrence where there are differences between the Senate’s version of the Electoral Act amendment bill and the House’s version. When we harmonise all the areas of differences between the Senate and the House, then we will report progress to both chambers.”