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INEC Forecloses Use of Incident Form in 2019

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said despite the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018, which makes the use of card reader mandatory, the 2019 elections will not be conducted with incident form.

INEC’s assurance is coming as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organisation has said the use of incident form in the impending general elections would be unacceptable to it.

The electoral body, however, said the rejected bill would have addressed the controversies that trailed the 2015 exercise especially the place of technology and others that the amendments seek to address.

According to THISDAY, INEC’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said the presidential veto has created no lacuna in the electoral legal regime, explaining that the Electoral Act 2010 as amended in 2015 would be the operative law.

“While it may be better to have the necessary amendments to avoid some of the controversies that trailed the 2015 exercise, especially the place of technology and others the amendments seek to cure, we can still have good elections with the extant act as we did in 2015, which were adjudged free, fair and credible.”

Reacting to a report that 13.5 million voters voted for Buhari without full biometric accreditation in 2015, Osaze-Uzzi said, “How was this determined? Biometric accreditation does not determine who a person votes for. Put another way, the card reader is used for biometric accreditation. It doesn’t determine how such persons vote.

“Incident forms will not be used in 2019.”

THEWILL recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari had last week, for the fourth time withheld his assent to the amendment bill, citing legal drafting errors.

In separate letters dated December 6 titled, ‘Presidential Decision to Decline Assent to the Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 2018’, addressed to the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and Speaker Yakubu Dogara of the House of Representatives, Buhari explained that he was declining assent “principally because passing a new electoral bill this far into the electoral process for the 2019 general election, which commenced under the 2015 Electoral Act, could create some uncertainties about the applicable legislation to govern the process.”

The president also listed four provisions of the bill that required drafting amendments by the National Assembly. They include Section five of the bill amending section 18 of the principal act, which should indicate the subsection to which the substitution of the figure “30” for the figure “60” is to be effected and Section 11 of the bill amending Section 36 should indicate the subsection in which the proviso is to be introduced.

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