September 13, 2018 11.54AM / Senator (Dr.) ITA ENANG, Presidential
liaison to the NASS.
Further to the release I issued on September 3rd that Mr. President has withheld assent to the above Bill forwarded on August 3, 2018 and praying that by convention the content of Presidential communication to the National Assembly should not be fully released until read on the floor, speculation has been raised that '' card reader'' provision is one of the issues that determined Mr. President's decision.
For the avoidance of doubt, I hereby state expressly that the card reader Provision addressed by section 49 of the Principal Act was COMPLETELY, EXPRESSLY and UNEQUIVOCALLY EXCLUDED AND NOT IN ANYWISE PART OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE BILL FORWARDED TO MR. PRESIDENT on August 3, 2018 and could therefore not form part of the consideration of Mr. President.
In the communication of Mr. President to the National Assembly on the Bill transmitted on February 20, 2018 and the 2nd one transmitted on June 27, 2018 to him for consideration, there was no mention of card reader as subject of infraction nor reservation in any manner whatsoever, although there was provision for card reader in these two previous Bills which were now expunged by the National Assembly in the August 3, Bill transmitted.
For further clarity, the Bill of 20th February had 43 Clauses, and the revised Bill of 27th June had 41 clauses. The current further revised Bill of 3rd August which now excludes the card reader has just 15 clauses in the absolute wisdom of the National Assembly and Mr. President has no constitutional or legal authority to add or remove any provision to or from what the National Assembly has transmitted to him.
Clause 19 of the 20th February transmission States:
“Section 49 of the Principal Act is amended by substituting for subsections (1) and (2), new subsections “(1)” and “(2)” –
“(1) A person intending to vote in an election shall present himself with his voter’s card to the presiding officer for accreditation at the polling unit in the constituency in which his name is registered.
(2) The Presiding Officer shall use a Smart Card Reader or any other technological device that may be prescribed by the Commission, for the accreditation of Voters, to verify, confirm or authenticate the particulars of the voter in the manner prescribed by the Commission.”
Clause 17 of the 27th June transmission adds Paragraph 3 to the above which reads
" (3) where a smart card reader deployed for accreditation of voters fails to function in any unit and a fresh card reader is not deployed, the election in that unit shall be cancelled and another election shall be scheduled within 24 hours”
Finally it is the withholding of assent by Mr. President to the latest transmission of August 3, 2018, which excluded the card reader provision that has now preserved the card reader and given opportunity and vent to the National Assembly to admit the card reader provision, when reconsidering the Bill, in her absolute legislative discretion.
I pray that this will put paid to mischief and deliberate misinformation even by persons and institutions who know these facts.