The Presidency has explained why President Muhammadu Buhari declined his assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, highlighted some errors as part of the reasons President Buhari refused to sign the bill into law.
“When a bill is presented to the President; and if there is any impunity, typographical, anything unconstitutional, the President cannot correct a comma, full stop, or change a capital to a small letter,” he said Wednesday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
“It has to go back to the legislature because when a President receives a bill, he is to say yes! I assent or no! I don’t assent.”
Senator Enang made the explanation two days after he issued a statement in which he revealed that Buhari’s decision was due to “some drafting issues”.
He had, however, said President Buhari would sign the bill into law after the issues were resolved.
The Presidential aide stressed further that the National Assembly passed an amended bill on July 24, while the Presidency received it on August 3 after the lawmakers went on recess.
He, therefore, exonerated the President saying he could not just have worked on mere speculations that the lawmakers had addressed the issues he earlier raised when the bill was first presented to him on June 27.
“The President could not say since I am expecting, and I am aware by media reports that you have addressed some of the issues I raised, let me wait because the National Assembly and the Constitution would have taken him up on that,” he said.
Enang added, “So the President had to write to NASS that the bill you presented to me sometime in June, being the only document before me, I have declined assent formally and I urge you to address some of these issues.
“What was passed on July 24 was transmitted to the President only on August 3, after July 26 had passed that the President had to say yes or no.”
Following the rejection of the bill, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has criticised President Buhari for his decision.
The party had asked the National Assembly to use their constitutional power to override the President on the Electoral Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill.