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Senate Probes $50,000 Bribery Allegation Over Election Sequence

The Senate, Tuesday, frowned at reports that senators have been given  $50,000 bribe to stop plans to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2018 on sequence of election. Consequently, it mandated a committee, headed by Senator Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo East) to carry out a holistic investigation into allegations that some senators and House of Representatives members were being bribed by the executive with $50,000 and $30,000 respectively.

 

The Senate particularly tasked the committee to carry out a thorough investigation on the allegation published in  a national daily of Monday,  March 26, 2018, and report back within one week. The resolution of the upper chamber was sequel to a motion moved to that effect by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP Delta North). In his remarks, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, who presided over the session, said the allegation clearly impugned the integrity of the entire members of the hallowed chambers and must be investigated for Nigerians to know the truth. Meanwhile, moves by the Senate to override the President on the Electoral Act with the amendment of the bill as sponsored by Senator Suleiman Nazif (APC, Bauchi North), was read for the first time at plenary, yesterday.

 

President Buhari had, in vetoing the bill three weeks ago, through a letter to that effect , argued that section 25(1) of the bill reordering the 2019 sequence of elections, would infringe on the constitutional powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. He had said :  “Pursuant to section 58 (4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), I, hereby, convey to the Senate, my decision, on March 3, 2018, to decline presidential assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill, 2018, recently passed by the National Assembly.

 

“Some of my reasons include the following: The amendment to the sequence of elections in section 25 of the principal act may infringe upon the constitutionally guaranteed discretion of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organise, undertake and supervise elections provided in Section 15 (A) of the third statue to the constitution; the amendment to section 138 of the principal act, to delete two crucial grounds upon which an election may be challenged by candidates, unduly limits the rights of candidates in elections to a free and fair electoral review process.”

 

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