The Presidency told Nigerians yesterday that President Muhammadu Buhari will not be bullied into signing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill. Mr. Femi Adesina, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, said it was premature for some groups to harass the President over the President’s alleged delay in signing the Bill that was transmitted by the National Assembly on January 31.
After declining to sign an earlier version of the National Assembly’s amendments, President Buhari was presented with a reworked Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
Part of his reason for declining was that some aspects of it would deny the majority’s voice, a situation that would have undermined democracy’s very essence. A coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) emerged from a meeting in Abuja over the weekend with a call for President Buhari to sign the bill into law. The governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have also urged the President to sign the bill as soon as possible
However, in a statement released yesterday, Adesina stated that there is no need to rush the process because he has more constitutionally permitted time to make his decision.
The Presidency also noted that making a decision like signing the Electoral Bill, which will have such a profound impact on the nation’s very essence, necessitates careful consideration and, to the extent possible, perfection. It reads: “Some interest groups are cashing in on what they consider a delay in the signing of the Electoral Bill into law by the President to foment civil disorder and muddy the waters.
“One can just pity their ignorance of Constitutional requirements, as the President has a window of 30 days within which to sign the Bill, or decline assent, after it had been transmitted to him by the National Assembly. “It is on record that the amended Bill was sent to the Presidency on January 31, 2022, which means that the Executive could do due diligence on it till March 1, as prescribed by the Constitution. “A proposed legislation that has to do with the electoral fortunes of the country needs to be thoroughly scrutinised, and be made as near-perfect as possible.” It, however, urged those employing all sorts scheming to force a result, to exercise patience, assuring that the President would do the right thing.
“Those playing cheap politics with it are, therefore, encouraged to hold their peace, knowing that the right thing will be done within the lawful time,” the statement said.