The Presidency says President Muhammadu Buhari has been briefed on the amended Electoral Act Bill and would make his decision known to the National Assembly soon.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu stated this as the 30-day period within which the President is expected to assent or withhold his approval to the bill ends on Sunday.
The bill was transmitted to the President on November 19, 2021, after both chambers passed it.
But speaking to newsmen on the President’s delay Shehu said, “Mr President is fully briefed on the bill, especially on the contentious issues therein and would shortly make his decision known to the National Assembly as to whether to sign the bill or withhold his assent.”
The President had a few weeks ago written to the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to seek their advice on the bill.
Reports indicated that INEC advised the President to sign the bill.
Meanwhile, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, asked the national assembly to veto the electoral act amendment bill if President Muhammadu Buhari refuses to sign it.
Adegboruwa in a statement said the failure of the president to sign the bill before travelling for a summit in Turkey is “truncating the reforms encapsulated in that historic bill.
“The president did not assent before he travelled to Turkey, thus truncating the reforms encapsulated in that historic bill,” the lawyer said.
“There are many innovative provisions in the bill that make it attractive as a tool to oil our democratic experiment, especially the issues of electronic transmission of election results and direct primaries for the political parties.
“From the events monitored on the floor of the national assembly and indeed the public hearings conducted, it is clear that Nigerians prefer that results of elections be transmitted electronically by INEC in order to avoid the recurring decimal of manipulation and rigging.
“In the same vein, direct primaries for the choice of candidates of political parties will eliminate the hydra-headed issue of godfatherism and the imposition of candidates.
“By virtue of section 58 (5) of the 1999 constitution, where the president withholds his assent and a bill is again passed by each house by a two-thirds majority, the bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall not be required.
“I urge the national assembly, to invoke its constitutional powers and national interest, to pass the electoral bill and save our democracy from imminent collapse.
“As the elected representatives of the people, our legislators should act in the interest of their respective constituencies.”
The legislation provides for electronic transmission of election results and the compulsory use of direct primary to pick candidates by all political parties.