Following the confusion that has trailed the true position of the Amended Electoral Act ahead of the primary elections of political parties in the country, the leadership of the House of Representatives has called on political parties to go ahead and approve statutory delegates based on their respective constitutions.
Earlier, the Senate and the House had, in a record time, passed an amendment to the Act to recognise statutory delegates at primaries, congresses and conventions of political parties.
The lawmakers particularly amended Section 84(8) of the Act to provide for automatic or statutory delegates, ahead of the forthcoming party primaries, from where candidates would emerge for the 2023 general elections.
But, a week after the National Assembly passed and transmitted the legislation to the Presidency, Buhari is yet to append his signature causing confusion.
On what could be the reason for the delay, the Majority Leader of the House, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, alleged that some persons within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the government were misleading Buhari on the amendment.
Ado-Doguwa said: “Some people are trying to mislead the innocent old man in the name of constitutional democracy to which they have no knowledge of at all.
“Declining assent to the amended clause of the Electoral Act on statutory delegates would amount to a calculated design to ambush the presidential primaries come 30th May/1st June 2022, which I believe Nigerians will not accept.”
Similarly, the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu said: “Trying to short-change and ambush is not necessary. The parties had already made provisions for statutory and ad-hoc until there was a notice of that omission. So, it is actually trying to fulfil what the parties had already arranged for.”
The confusion that ensued has led to speculation with reports emerging late on Saturday that the president has already assented to the bill.
However, the presidency has shot down the report saying Buhari is yet to sign the amended electoral act as he just returned to the country from Abu Dhabi.
The President on Saturday evening returned to Abuja after concluding a two-day condolence visit to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
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 pm, alongside members of his delegation.
In Abu Dhabi, he condoled with the new President of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, over the passing of the former leader, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, debunked online reports that the Electoral Act had been signed by the President.