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Why I cannot assent to Electoral Bill – Buhari

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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has given reasons for withholding his assent to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021 in line with the provisions of Section 58(1) & (4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

  President Buari dated the reasons in his letter to National Assembly, titled Withholding of Assent to Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021, today.

   According to him, his reasons for refusing to sign the bill is anchored his refusal on inclusion of direct primaries as only mode of election of candidates by political parties in the Bill.

President Buhari also said he decided to reject Bill based informed advice he received from relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the government, and have also carefully reviewed the bill in light of the current realities prevalent in the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the circumstances.

  “The Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021, seeks to amend certain provisions of the extant Electoral Act 2010. Part of the objective of the Bill is the amendment of the present Section 87 of the Electoral Act, 2010 to delete the provision for the conduct of indirect primaries in the nomination of party candidates such that party candidates can henceforth only emerge through direct primaries.

The conduct of direct primaries across the 8,809 wards across the length and breadth of the country will lead to a significant spike in the cost of conducting primary elections by parties as well as increase in the cost of monitoring such elections by INEC, who has to deploy monitors across these wards each time a party is to conduct direct primaries for the presidential, gubernatorial and legislative posts.

The addition of these costs with the already huge cost of conducting general elections will inevitably lead to huge financial burden on political parties, INEC and the economy in general at a time of dwindling revenues,” he said.

  It will be recalled that Buahri’s refusal was greeted with outrage, especially among the civil society organisations and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

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