Senate Rejects Buhari’s Request To Amend Section 84 (12) In Electoral Act

File photo of lawmakers at the Senate Chamber.

 

The Senate has thrown out the request of President Muhammadu Buhari for amendment of section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act which prevents appointive political office holders from contesting for election from party primary level without resigning.

The request was rejected after the Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (APC Kebbi North) made the lead debate for the second reading of the bill on Wednesday.

The Senators kicked against it and voted no when put to voice votes by the Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

President Buhari last week wrote the Senate seeking an amendment of section 84 (2) subsection 12 in the 2021 Electoral Act.

READ ALSO: Buhari Writes Senate, Seeks Amendment Of Section 84 (12) In Electoral Act

Specifically, President Buhari asked the National Assembly to amend section 84 (2) Subsection 12 which states that no political appointee shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of any candidate for an election.

In the letter, he said the amendment is necessary as the clause constitutes a fundamental defect and leads to the disenfranchisement of political officeholders.

In his view, the section disenfranchises serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at conventions or congresses of any political party, for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election in cases where it holds earlier than 30 days to the national election.

President Buhari stressed that the provision introduced qualification and disqualification criteria that ultra vires the Constitution by way of importing blanket restrictions to serving political officeholders.

The Federal High Court in Abuja in a ruling on Monday, March 7 stopped President Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, from tampering with the newly signed amended Electoral Act 2022.

Ruling on an ex-parte application by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Justice Inyang Ekwo agreed with the counsel to the party, James Onoja, that the Electoral Act has become a valid law and cannot be tampered with without following due process of law.

Buhari’s Full Speech At Signing Of Electoral Act Amendment Bill

President Muhammadu Buhari with Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila at the signing of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill in Abuja on February 25, 2022.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has finally signed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law.

He assented to the bill at past midday on Friday at a brief ceremony held at the Council Chamber of the Aso Villa in Abuja.

READ ALSO: Finally, President Buhari Signs Electoral Act Amendment Bill Into Law

Read his full speech at the event below:

ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE SIGNING OF ELECTORAL BILL 2022 INTO LAW

STATE HOUSE, ABUJA

FRIDAY 24TH FEBRUARY 2022

The Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2022, passed by the National Assembly forwarded for Presidential Assent, via a letter dated 31st January 2022. In line with established tradition, I received inputs from relevant ministries, departments, and agencies of government after careful and thorough reviews of the Bill and its implications to democratic processes in our country.

It is gratifying to note that the current Bill comes with a great deal of improvement from the previous Electoral Bill 2021. There are salient and praiseworthy provisions that could positively revolutionize elections in Nigeria through the introduction of new technological innovations. These innovations would guarantee the constitutional rights of citizens to vote and to do so effectively.

The Bill would also improve and engender clarity, effectiveness, and transparency of the election process, as well as reduce to the barest minimum incidences of acrimony arising from dissatisfied candidates and political parties.

These commendable efforts are in line with our policy to bequeath posterity and landmark legal framework that paves the way for credible and sound electoral process that we would all be proud of.

Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, from the review it is my perspective that the substance of the Bill is both reformative and progressive. I am making this bold declaration because I foresee the great potentials of the Bill. Worthy of note include the democratic efficacy of the Bill with particular reference to sections 3, 9(2), 34, 41, 47, 84(9), (10) and (11) among others.

 

This, however, cannot be said about one provision as contained in the proposed Bill, which provision constitutes fundamental defect, as it is in conflict with extant constitutional provisions.

Section 84 (12) constitutes a disenfranchisement of serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at Conventions or Congresses of any political party, for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election in cases where it holds earlier than 30 days to the National Election. The section provides as follows: –

“No political appointee at any level shall be voting delegate or be voted for at the Convention or Congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election”.

This provision has introduced qualification and disqualification criteria that ultra vires the Constitution by way of importing blanket restriction and disqualification to serving political office holders of which they are constitutionally accorded protection.

The practical application of section 84(12) of the Electoral Bill, 2022 will, if assented to, by operation of law, subject serving political office holders to inhibitions and restrictions referred to under section 40 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

It is imperative to note that the only constitutional expectation placed on serving political office holders that qualify, by extension as public officers within the context of the constitution is resignation, withdrawal, or retirement at least 30 days before the date of the election.

Hence, it will be stretching things beyond the constitutional limit to import extraneous restriction into the constitution on account of practical application of section 84(12) of the bill where political parties’ conventions and congresses were to hold earlier than 30 days to the election.

Arising from the foregoing, with particular regards to the benefits of the Bill, industry, time, resources and energy committed in its passage, I hereby assent to the Bill and request the Nationally Assembly to consider immediate amendments that will bring the Bill in tune with constitutionality by way of deleting section 84(12) accordingly.

Thank you, may God bless our country.

Pressure On Buhari To Sign Electoral Bill Is Unnecessary, Says Uzodimma

 

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma has described the pressure mounted on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the amended electoral bill as unnecessary.

The National Assembly had in January transmitted the reworked Electoral Bill to Buhari for assent. However, the president is yet to sign the document, forcing some civil society organisations to converge at the Unity Fountain in Abuja on Tuesday to condemn the delay. The development has also triggered debates in the political space.

READ ALSO: Electoral Bill: What Buhari Gives With The Right, He’ll Take With His Left – Galadima

But Governor Uzodimma, who briefed reporters in Owerri the state capital on Wednesday, said the 1999 constitution as amended has defined the process of signing a bill into law.

“I don’t understand the anxiety and propaganda of trying to force and blackmail the president into signing the electoral act without following the constitutional dictates by ensuring that he will study the electoral act,” Uzodimma said.

“He has the mandate of all of us, over 200 million Nigerians. He will study the act and if there are things in his opinion he considers not in the best interest of the people, he has to address it. All these social clubs and anxieties here and there is not the best thing.

“I think we should allow the president to do his job. We have seen people making utterances here and there that the president must sign. The Constitution has expressly defined the process of making laws and none of those processes has been violated.”

Signing Of Electoral Act Amendment Bill Postponed Till Friday

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will now sign the re-worked Electoral Act Amendment Bill on Friday, February 25.

A source close to the Presidency, who had earlier indicated that the President would assent to the bill on Wednesday, confirmed the new date to Channels Television.

According to the source, the new date will be honoured by the President.

This comes at a time when President Buhari presides over the Federal Executive Council meeting held at the State House in Abuja.

READ ALSO: Buhari To Sign Electoral Bill In A Matter Of Hours – Adesina

On January 25, lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives chambers of the National Assembly passed the harmonised version of the bill.

The harmonised version was received by President Buhari a week later, as confirmed by his Senior Special Assistant on NASS Matters (Senate), Senator Babajide Omoworare.

He withheld his assent to the bill in November 2021, citing the cost of conducting direct primary elections, security challenges, and possible manipulation of electoral processes by political players as part of the reasons for his decision.

But the President gave some conditions to give his assent – an action that prompted the lawmakers to re-work the bill, leading to the emergence of two versions in the green and red chambers.

The House had re-amended the bill to include the direct and indirect primary options while the Senate re-adjusted it to include the direct, indirect, and consensus modes of selecting political parties’ candidates.

Both chambers later passed the harmonised version – the final agreed version of the amendment to Clause 84 which included the direct, indirect, and consensus primary modes.

Amid an outcry from critics who raised concerns about the delayed signing over fears that the President might reject the bill again, a presidential aide, Femi Adesina, said his principal’s action was within the requirements of the law.

He stated that it would only be appropriate to say President Buhari has acted against the law if he exceeds the 30-day window provided by the Constitution to take a decision on the bill.

“It could be signed today; it could be signed tomorrow. In a matter of hours, not days. Hours could be 24 hours, it could be 48 hours; not days, not weeks,” Adesina had said on Tuesday’s edition of Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

UPDATED: Buhari To Sign Electoral Bill In A Matter Of Hours – Adesina

 

It is just a matter of hours for President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the re-worked Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, disclosed this on Tuesday during an interview on Sunrise Daily.

“He (Buhari) will sign it (the bill) any moment from now,” he said while appearing as a guest on the Channels Television breakfast programme. “It could be today, it could be tomorrow, it could be anytime, but within the 30 days.

“It could be signed today; it could be signed tomorrow. In a matter of hours, not days. Hours could be 24 hours, it could be 48 hours; not days, not weeks.”

READ ALSOBuhari Unwilling To Sign Electoral Bill, Says PDP Governors

This comes nearly a month after lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives chambers of the National Assembly passed the harmonised version of the bill.

Passed on January 25, the bill was transmitted to President Buhari a week after, as confirmed by his Senior Special Assistant on NASS Matters (Senate), Senator Babajide Omoworare.

Weeks after receiving the bill, the President has yet to give his assent – an action that has sparked an outcry from critics who fear he might reject it again.

A file photo of the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

 

Defending his principal, Adesina slammed those accusing the President of delaying the signing of the bill, stressing that the Nigerian leader’s action was still within the requirements of the Constitution.

He stated that it would only be appropriate to say President Buhari has acted against the law if exceeds the 30-day window provided by the law.

“You know before the President will put pen to paper on any legislation, particularly this one that has to do with our electoral fortunes, it has to be looked at and looked at.

“He has to buy opinions from different stakeholders and having been satisfied that the necessary due diligence had been done and he will not be making any error, then he will sign it, and I tell you that Nigerians will get to hear about this bill in hours,” Adesina said.

President Buhari had withheld his assent to the bill in November 2021, citing the cost of conducting direct primary elections, security challenges, and possible manipulation of electoral processes by political players as part of the reasons for his decision.

He, however, gave some conditions to give his assent, prompting the lawmakers to re-work the bill which initially led to the emergence of two versions from the green and red chambers of the assembly.

While the House re-amended the bill to include the direct and indirect primary options, the Senate re-adjusted to include the direct, indirect, and consensus modes of selecting political parties’ candidates.

Both chambers, thereafter, passed the harmonised version – the final agreed version of the amendment to Clause 84 of the bill.

This included the direct, indirect, and consensus primary modes of nominating candidates by political parties for elections.

Electoral Bill: Nigerians Should Mount Pressure On NASS To Override Buhari – Falana

 

Human rights lawyer and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has called on Nigerians to mount pressure on the National Assembly to override President Muhammadu Buhari on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

Following the refusal of the president to sign the document over the mode of primaries, the National Assembly had on January 31 transmitted the reworked bill to the president for assent.

The presidency has repeatedly defended the delay in the assent to the electoral bill, saying President Buhari is still consulting with the relevant stakeholders before making his decision known to Nigerians.

But speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Political Paradigm, Falana said Buhari’s refusal to sign the electoral act amendment bill in the past, as well as his delay in giving assent since receiving the bill over two weeks ago, and the lack of pressure from members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for him to sign, speaks volumes.

READ ALSO: 2023 Polls: Buhari Consulting On Electoral Bill, Says Presidency

“It is a challenge to all Nigerians. Once the 30-day period expires, the bill goes back to the National Assembly and Nigerians have to mount pressure on the National Assembly to override the veto of the President. We can’t go on like this,” he said.

Falana said he wouldn’t be surprised if Buhari again refuses to sign the document, accusing the President of not being prepared to reform the nation’s electoral process.

While noting that the bill has been dragged since 2018, he criticised the ruling APC of failing to tackle rigging of elections, violent polls, inconclusive elections.

“The ruling party wants the situation to remain hence there is no pressure on the President to sign the electoral bill into law.

“The party is not prepared to allow the status quo to change. Status quo that promotes rigging of elections, violent elections, inconclusive elections and the tribunalisation of the electoral process.”

Adesina Slams Buhari’s Critics Over ‘Delayed’ Assent To Electoral Bill

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

Mr Femi Adesina has slammed those criticising President Muhammadu Buhari for the delay in signing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law.

In a statement on Monday in Abuja, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity accused them of taking advantage of the situation to incite civil disorder and disturb the nation’s speed.

While defending the President’s action for not signing the bill yet, he stressed that such persons were only ignorant of the requirements of the Constitution regarding the situation.

READ ALSO: Buhari Unwilling To Sign Electoral Bill, Says PDP Governors

According to Adesina, the Constitution provides that the President has a period of 30 days to sign the bill or decline assent after it has been transmitted to him by the National Assembly.

A file photo of Mr Femi Adesina.

 

He stated that the amended bill was sent to the Presidency three weeks ago and the Executive has till Tuesday next week to do due diligence on it.

For the presidential aide, a bill that has to do with Nigeria’s electoral fortunes must be analysed thoroughly with a view to ensuring it is as near-perfect as possible.

He asked the President’s critics to hold their peace, saying the right thing would be done within the lawful time.

 

Read the full statement below:

Assent To Electoral Bill: No Need For Saber-Rattling

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 scrutinized, and be made as near-perfect as possible.

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.

Femi Adesina

Special Adviser to the President

(Media and Publicity)

February 21, 2022

Buhari Unwilling To Sign Electoral Bill, Says PDP Governors

File photo of PDP governors

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors on Monday said President Muhammadu Buhari is unwilling to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

Following the refusal of the president to sign the document over the mode of primaries, the National Assembly had on January 31 transmitted the reworked bill to the president for assent.

The presidency had on February 10 said President Buhari is desirous to assent to the bill and is still consulting with critical stakeholders on whether to sign the electoral act amendment bill or not.

Buh the PDP governors in a communique issued after their meeting which was held in Bayelsa State asked Buhari to sign the document.

READ ALSO: NASS Passes Harmonised Electoral Bill With Direct, Indirect, Consensus Modes Of Primaries

“The PDP Governors urged Mr President to immediately sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law,” the communique signed by the 11 governors read.

“Waiting to run out the 30 days is yet another sign of unwillingness by Mr President to give Nigeria a reformed Electoral framework. If there are still misgivings on any aspect of the Bill Amendments may be introduced at a later stage.”

They also reacted to the just concluded polls in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), congratulating their party for the victory recorded in 43 out of 62 Councillorship positions in Abuja.

In spite of improvements in the conduct of elections, the governors noted that Gwagwalada and Abuja Area Council results show that manipulations are still possible.

They, therefore, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to tighten all observed loopholes and further improve on the functioning of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BIVAS) machine for future elections.

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY THE PDP GOVERNORS’ FORUM AT THE END OF THEIR MEETING IN YENAGOA   BAYELSA STATE

The PDP Governors’ Forum held its regular meeting on Monday, 14th February 2022, at the Bayelsa State Government House, Yenagoa.  The meeting reviewed once again the state of the nation, the readiness of the PDP to rescue the nation from APC misrule and issued the following Communique:

  1. The PDP Governors urged Mr. President to immediately sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law. Waiting to run out the 30 days is yet another sign of unwillingness by Mr. President to give Nigeria a reformed Electoral framework. If there are still misgivings on any aspect of the Bill Amendments may be introduced at a later stage.
  2. The Governors congratulated PDP for winning 43 out of 62 Councillorship positions in the Abuja Area Council election results, just concluded. Inspite of improvements in the conduct of elections, the Gwagwalada and Abuja Area Council results show that manipulations are still possible. They urged INEC to tighten all observed loopholes and further improve the functioning of the BIVAS Machine for future elections.
  3. The Governors expressed their displeasure on the issue of contaminated Fuel supplied to Nigerians and urged the government to bring perpetrators to account.
  4. The Governors frowned at the duplicity, inconsistency, insincerity of the APC-led Federal Government on the fuel subsidy regime, which has been badly and corruptly administered. The figures of consumption and ascribed to Nigerians appear fictitious and bloated. They called for a proper investigation to be conducted on this matter.
  5. The Forum welcomed the Court decision on Police Trust Fund deductions from the Federation Account, a suit at the instance of Rivers State and urged the Federal Government to stop similar unconstitutional deductions from the Federation Account.

In the same vein, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission should expedite action on the new Revenue Allocation formula in such a way as to increase allocation to States and Local Government.

  1. The Forum once again deplored the way and manner the CBN is being run as an alternate government, indeed, a government within a Government. It is time to streamline its functions and processes to be constitutionally compliant.
  2. The Forum once again decried the opaque nature of NNPC operations. They called for accountability and reconciliation of NNPC remittances into the federation account.
  3. As the National Assembly winds down this current phase of the Constitution Review exercise, the Forum urged that they revisit the issue of devolution of more powers to the States and Local Governments.

This opportunity to rejig the framework for policing and securing Nigeria should not be missed. To this end, the Forum would set up a Panel of Consultants to have a thorough look at the security architecture of Nigeria and make recommendations.

The Governors also urged the National Assembly to transfer some items from the Exclusive Legislative List to Concurrent List.

  1. The PDP Governors congratulated His Excellency, Governor Douye Diri on his second anniversary in office as he has made a positive difference for the people of Bayelsa State. They thanked him for being such a gracious and wonderful host.

In attendance are:

Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu                                                      – Abia State         – Vice-Chairman

Gov. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri                         -Adamawa State              -Member

Gov. Udom Emmanuel                                  – Akwa Ibom State – Member

Gov. Bala Mohammed                                   -Bauchi State     – Member

Gov. Sen. Douye Diri                                      – Bayelsa State – Member

Gov. Samuel Ortom                                                        -Benue State     -Member

Gov. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa                                                 – Delta State       – Member

Gov. Godwin Obaseki                                    – Edo State          -Member

Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi                                  – Enugu State     – Member

Gov. Engr. Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde      – Oyo State         – Member

Gov. Nyesom Wike, CON                                             – Rivers State     – Member

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2023 Polls: Buhari Consulting On Electoral Bill, Says Presidency

Atiku, Ezekwesili Absent As Buhari And Other Candidates Sign Peace Accord
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari signing a document.

 

The presidency has said that President Muhammadu Buhari is desirous to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021.

The Senior Special Assistant National Assembly Matters (Senate), Babajide Omoworare, stated this on Thursday at a dialogue on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, organized by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies in Abuja.

Speaking on the policy dialogue centred on ‘Electoral Bill 2021 and Quest for Presidential Assent: Matters Arising,’ Omoworare said his principal is still consulting with critical stakeholders on whether to sign the electoral act amendment bill or not.

While noting that Buhari is aware of the constitutional time constraint for assent to the bill, he explained that Section 58 of the Constitution has given the president a 30-day time frame to sign the document.

READ ALSO: I Will Sign Electoral Bill If NASS Includes Consensus Candidates, Indirect Primaries – Buhari

Following the refusal of the president to sign the document over the mode of primaries, the National Assembly had on January 31 transmitted the reworked bill to the president for assent.

“Consultations are going on and we are aware that despite the fact that the President needs 30 days under Section 58 within which to sign, the President is desirous of signing it, otherwise I don’t know,” the presidential aide said.

“I can’t speak for him now. It is going to be as a result of the consultations whether he signs or not, but we know we have time constraint.”

In his remarks, a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, said a good law was necessary for electoral integrity.

Jega picked holes in the bill, especially the provisions for campaign financing by presidential candidates.

“There is a good fundamental democratic principle. Candidates for presidency spending N5 billion and governors spending N1 billion for elections is a very bad law,” he said.

“To my mind, it is just one aspect out of the many good things that are in that bill. Whether you do direct or indirect primaries, it does not matter so long as political parties are not democratic.

“If there is no internal party democracy, whether you do direct or indirect primaries, they will still manipulate it and the outcome will still not be favourable to the people.”

The bill is considered critical to the 2023 general elections and stakeholders are hoping that the president signs the bill in good time for the polls.

NASS Transmits Re-Amended Electoral Bill To Buhari For Assent

A combination of photos of President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly complex in Abuja.

 

The National Assembly has transmitted the re-amended Electoral Act Amendment Bill to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.

President Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on NASS Matters (Senate), Senator Babajide Omoworare, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

He explained that the transmission of the bill was in line with the provisions of Section 58 (3) of the 1999 Constitution and the Acts Authentication Act Cap. A2 LFN 2004.

Omoworare stated that the Clerk to the National Assembly, Olatunde Ojo, transmitted the authenticated copies of the bill to the President on Monday.

“The Clerk to the National Assembly Mr Olatunde Amos Ojo has transmitted the authenticated copies of the Electoral Bill 2022 to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari GCFR on 31st January 2022,” he said.

“This was done in accordance with the provisions of Section 58 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and the Acts Authentication Act Cap. A2 LFN 2004.

“Mr. President had withheld assent to the Electoral Bill 2021 transmitted to him on 19th November 2021. The Electoral Bill was thereafter reworked by the National Assembly and both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed same on 25th January 2022.”

READ ALSO: I Will Sign Electoral Bill If NASS Includes Consensus Candidates, Indirect Primaries – Buhari

This comes a week after lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives passed the harmonised version of the bill.

President Buhari had withheld his assent to the bill in November last year, citing the cost of conducting direct primary elections, security challenges, and possible manipulation of electoral processes by political actors as part of the reasons for his decision.

While he gave the conditions to give his assent, the lawmakers went on to rework the bill which initially led to the emergence of two versions from the green and red chambers of the assembly.

While the House re-amended the bill to include the direct and indirect primary options, the Senate re-adjusted to include the direct, indirect, and consensus modes of selecting political parties’ candidates.

On Tuesday last week, lawmakers in the two chambers passed the harmonised version of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill – the final agreed version of the amendment to Clause 84 of the bill.

This bill included the direct, indirect, and consensus primary modes of nominating candidates by political parties for elections.

Buhari Should Waste No Time To Sign Amended Electoral Bill, Says Fayose

 

Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to swiftly sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

He made the call on Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, about a month after President Buhari declined assent to the bill over the direct primaries clause.

“Now that the National Assembly has done the right thing, he (Buhari) should waste no time at assenting to the bill and let the process have enough time to adjust,” the former governor said.

Following the rejection of the bill by the President and calls by some individuals and groups to do the needful, members of the National Assembly took a decisive step on Wednesday.

While the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives bowed to pressure to include the indirect option as another mode of conducting primaries, lawmakers in the upper chamber went on to add consensus as a third option.

Former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on January 19, 2022.

 

In his reaction, Fayose believes President Buhari is fond of giving excuses for refusing to sign bills passed by lawmakers.

READ ALSO: Wike Promises Rivers LG Chairmen At Least N20m Each To Fight Oil Bunkering

He recalled how the President first rejected the bill in the build-up to the 2019 general elections and advised him to leave a good legacy behind when he leaves the office.

“It is becoming common of President Muhammadu Buhari to dodge assent. Remember before the 2019 elections, he was supposed to sign this thing to law; he did not, he gave excuses,” Fayose said.

“I am not saying what the National Assembly did is right or wrong, but President Buhari should leave office and leave with a name that people will remember that he turned around the electoral process.”

If President Buhari refuses to sign the document again after the National Assembly re-amends the document, Fayose stated that Nigerians would suspect that there was more to his action.

Away from the electoral bill, Fayose also spoke about the 2023 general elections and the preparations of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the contest.

He is confident that Nigerians will dump the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for its failure to meet up with their expectations since its victory in 2015.

13 Civil Groups Reject Senate’s Inclusion Of Consensus Option In Electoral Bill

A file photo shows some lawmakers during plenary in the Senate chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

Thirteen Civil Society groups have rejected the introduction of consensus as a mode for the nomination of candidates seeking election into public offices in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

The groups faulted the action of the Senate in a statement jointly signed by them on Wednesday, hours after the lawmakers modified the proposed amendments to the Electoral Act.

“We reject the decision of the Senate to introduce a completely new mode of “consensus” as a procedure for candidates’ nomination,” the statement read. “The consensus mode is antithetical to democratic principles and will result in the subversion of popular will.

“Furthermore, it violates the rights of aspirants to equal participation in party primaries and limits the choice of voters to candidates who did not emerge from democratic primary elections. Judging from experience, a consensus has occasioned a litany of litigations in Nigeria’s electoral process.”

READ ALSO: Electoral Act Amendment: NASS Re-Amends Bill, Allows Direct And Indirect Primaries

While the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives agreed to include the indirect option as another mode of conducting primaries, lawmakers in the upper chamber went on to add consensus as a third option.

But was strongly rejected by Yiaga Africa, International Press Centre (IPC), Centre for Citizens with Disability (CCD), The Albino Foundation, CLEEN Foundation, Institute for Media and Society (IMS), and Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF).

Others include Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), Partners for Electoral Reform (PER), Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Nigeria Network of Non-Governmental Organizations (NNNGO), and Inclusive Friends Association (IFA).

The statement read, “The undersigned civil society groups commend the swift action taken by the National Assembly upon resumption to review its position on direct primaries as the sole mode for the nomination of candidates in the Electoral Bill 2021.

“At today’s plenary, the Senate and House of Representatives recommitted the Electoral Bill 2021 with the proposed amendment to Clause 84 dealing with the nomination of candidates. While the Senate voted for direct, indirect and consensus mode as a procedure for the nomination of candidates, the House of Representatives voted for the conduct of direct and indirect primaries as the acceptable mode of nomination of candidates.”

The groups asked the Senate to adopt the position of the House of Representatives which recognises direct and indirect primaries as the procedure for nomination of candidates, in line with the popular will of Nigerians.

They also advised the National Assembly leadership to constitute a committee to harmonise the divergent positions of both chambers that have continued to delay the speedy conclusion of the process.

“We, therefore, call for the immediate withdrawal of this new introduction, which is alien to the original Electoral Bill 2021, to speed up the work of the harmonisation committee and conclusion of the amendment process on or before the 21 January 2022 deadline.

“As indicated in our earlier statement, any further delay will undermine public confidence in the reform process and, therefore, unacceptable,” the groups stated.