I will not sign Electoral Bill – Buhari insists, gives Reasons

In a letter to the National Assembly, President Muhammadu Buhari stated that he will not sign the electoral act reform bill.

The bill was delivered to the president for assent on November 19 by the national assembly.

Recommendations on direct primaries for political parties and electronic reporting of election results are among the amendments. The president cited worries about rights abuses as well as the cost of holding direct primaries as grounds for his rejection to sign the bill.

Buhari
Buhari

The president cited other concerns such as security and litigation issues that may arise from adopting direct primary.

“The President said that prevailing situation in the country will not allow to him sign the bill. Amongst other reasons, the President cited high cost of conducting direct primaries, the security challenge of monitoring the election, violation of citizens rights, marginalisation of small political parties,” the report reads.

“Buhari also notes that adopting direct primaries also has implications on the rights of citizens to participate in the government, as constitutionally insured.

“According to the President, the conduct of direct primaries will lead to a significant spike in the cost of conducting primary elections by parties, as well as the increase in the cost of monitoring such elections by INEC.

“He explained that the direct consequences of the high cost are monetisation and that it will drive and increase the financial crimes and constitutes further strain on the economy.

“In his view, it will also stifle smaller parties without the enormous resources required to mobilise all party members for the primaries, a situation which he says is not healthy for the sustenance of multiparty democracy in Nigeria.

“The President further states that security agencies will also be overstretched, as direct primaries will be open to participation from all and sundry.

“Such large turnout without effective security coordination, will also engender intimidation and disruptions, thereby raising credibility issues on the outcomes of such election.

“President Buhari also says the proposed amendment might also give rise to a plethora of litigations based on diverse grounds and issues of law, including but not limited to the fact that the proposed amendment could not work in retrospect, given that the existing constitution of the parties already registered with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) permits direct, indirect and consensus primaries.

“Buhari said his decision is based on informed advice by relevant ministries, departments and agencies of the government, and careful review of the bill in light of the current realities prevalent in the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the circumstances.”

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