By Henry Omunu:
The Senate yesterday debunked claims by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Mahmud Yayale Ahmed that Acting President Goodluck Jonathan submitted the Justice Uwais Electoral Committee report to the Upper Chamber for consideration two weeks ago.
Deputy Chairman of the Senate Committee on Information and Media, Senator Anthony Manzo, told Senate correspondents that the statement credited to Yayale in the media while addressing protesting members of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) on Wednesday in Abuja, was “incorrect.”
Senator Manzo confirmed yesterday, that the unedited report of the Justice Muhammadu Uwais report was forwarded to the Senate by President Umaru Musa Yar’adua last year before leaving for Saudi Arabia for medical attention.
Yayale Ahmed had said on Wednesday that: “We are aware of your concern regarding credible elections in this country. Only two weeks ago, the acting president handed over again Uwais Committee Report unedited to the National Assembly.
“I will like to assure you that the National Assembly would do the necessary legislation in terms of reviewing the Electoral Act and the constitution in order to have a better electoral process,” the SGF added.
But addressing the newsmen on behalf of the Senate yesterday, Manzo said: “The truth of the matter is that we had the unedited report of the Uwais Committee more than two or three months ago, not two weeks ago.”
He added that the report was not transmitted by Acting President Jonathan, but that it had been with the Senate since the first debate on the bill to amend the Act establishing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as forwarded for consideration by President Yar’adua.
He further clarified that the correction was not in any way targeted at hurting anyone, but to straighten the facts, adding that “if we had received the report two weeks ago, then it means we will just be starting the process of looking at the document and we will not be able to finish the process of amendment before the 2011 elections.
“But we had the report long ago and we have been working towards completing work on the electoral law,” he added.
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