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Why I refused to sign electoral bill – Buhari

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A LETTER written by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly explained that the inclusion of a provision for compulsory adoption of the direct primary model was the reason he did not sign Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 into law.

Buhari has declined assent to the bill which was transmitted to him by the National Assembly on November 19 – the fifth time he is refusing to sign amendments to the Electoral Act into law.

Buhari’s letter was read at plenary sessions in the Senate and House of Representatives on December 21.

The Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021 sought to amend some provisions of the extant Electoral Act 2010.

Among the objectives of the bill is the amendment of the present Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 to expunge the provision for the conduct of indirect primaries in the nomination of party candidates, so that henceforth candidates can only emerge through direct primaries.

In the letter titled ‘Withholding of assent to Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021,’ Buhari said he received advice from relevant ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government and also carefully reviewed the electoral bill in the light of the current realities in the country.

“Arising from the review, you may wish to note that the conduct of elections for the nomination of party candidates solely via direct primaries as envisaged by the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021 has serious adverse legal, financial, economic and security consequences which cannot be accommodated at the moment considering our nation’s peculiarities,” the president said.

According to Buhari, compulsory adoption of the direct primary model has implications on the rights of citizens to participate in the government, as envisaged by the constitution.

Highlighting pertinent issues relating to the direct primary method, Buhari observed that the provision raised financial and security concerns. Continue Reading

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