#Election Bill: No Communication Yet-Kalu, Reps’ Spokesman

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Spokesman of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ben Kalu has said that there was no communication yet with regards to the expected presidential assent to the amended electoral bill.

It will be recalled that the constitutional 30 days window given to the president to give his assent or withhold same to the bill has elapsed.

Sunday, December 19, 2021 was the deadline, marking exactly 30 days the bill was transmited to the President to sign it into law.

As at now, there is no communication from the President to the House on whether he will be giving or withholding his assent to the bill.

Barring any last minute eventuality, the National Assembly will be vacating on Tuesday for the 2021 Christmas holidays.

Resumption is expected to be in the second week of January, 2022.

Section 58 (4) of the 1999 (as amended) stipulates that “Where a bill is presented to the President for assent, he shall within thirty days thereof signify that he assents or that he withholds assent.”

Similarly, section 58 (5) provides thus  “Where the President withholds his assent and the bill is again passed by each House by two-thirds majority, the bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall not be required.”

The implication of this section is that If the President withholds his assent and it is again taken to both Houses of the National Assembly, two-thirds majority of both Houses must pass the Bill.

If two-thirds majority in each House pass the Bill, then that Bill becomes law and the Presidents’ assent i.e. approval is no longer needed or required.

It will be recalled that two major contentious clauses in the bill were the electronic transmission of election results and the direct mode of primaries for political parties to choose their candidates for elections.

Speaking exclusively to Vanguard upon enquires, Monday, the Spokesman of the House, Hon. Kalu said that the House will meet on the matter Tuesday (tomorrow).

“The House has not met after the expiration of the 30 days. We will be meeting for the first time on Tuesday which tommorow. It’s then we will know if there is any communication and what the communication says. We will meet over whatever communication that we receive. So, until the House sits, I have nothing to say to you”, he said.

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