Confusion Over State Of Amended Electoral Act

Confusion Over State Of Amended Electoral Act

Nigerians have been thrown into confusion over the uncertainty surrounding the amended Electoral Act transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari last week by the National Assembly.

On Saturday, reports emerged that the president had finally signed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, a development which would have allowed political parties allow statutory delegates to participate and vote in the upcoming primary elections.

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However, officials of the presidency who spoke with the members of the press said Buhari is yet to sign the amendment Bill as of Saturday evening.

Commenting on the issue, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, who just returned to the country with the President, said the news of the signing, was not to his knowledge, saying “it is news to me too”.

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The presidential aide said Buhari who returned to Abuja, on Saturday after concluding a two-day condolence visit to Abu Dhabi, the Emirati capital, could not have signed the bill as reported in the media.

Buhari, who departed Abu Dhabi at about 1:30 pm on Saturday, landed at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, around 4:00 pm, alongside members of his delegation.

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Similarly, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives), Hon Umar El-Yakub, said Buhari cannot sign the bill secretly.

According to him, the President had been out of the country for the last 48 hours and just returned to the country on Saturday evening.

“The President couldn’t have signed it yesterday because he was out of the country and he couldn’t have signed already because he’s just entering the country.

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“I also cannot tell you that he will still sign it or will not sign it. He’s the President. But if it will be signed later, we will all know”, he was quoted to have said.

The New Diplomat reports that the Electoral Act Amendment Bill is important to the conduct of the primary elections of political parties in the country.

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With about a week to the primaries, parties in the country are not certain about the delegates’ list to use for the conduct of their election.

The amended bill which was transmitted to Buhari by the National Assembly made provisions for all statutory delegates to participate and vote in the conventions, congresses or meetings of political parties.

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In the initial version of the Electoral Act assented to by Buhari, statutory delegates were omitted from voting during party primaries.

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