The Presidency has explained why President Muhammadu Buhari has not made public his decision on the 2021 Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, said the president is not legally bound to make his decision on the Act public.
The National Assembly had a month ago transmitted the Bill to the president for assent.But reports had it that the president has withheld assent to the bill due to some reasons he gave in a letter to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawn.
However, Shehu insisted that despite the provisions of the constitution, it would be disrespectful to the National Assembly for Buhari to make his decision public first.
Speaking with Channels Television, Shehu said: “I’m not in a position to tell you, yes or no. But given the way things are done, the president would have completed his consultations some time back.
The president would be communicating with the National Assembly on whatever he decides, either yes or no.“And as I said, it would be disrespectful of the National Assembly, for me at this time, to say this is the content of the president’s communication, assuming that the communication has been sent to them. So as I said, allow them to resume. I believe that the president will not act in breach of the Constitution. No, he will do what is right.
“The constitution says the president must sign within 30 days, the constitution did not say that there should be the disclosure of that decision within 30 days to the public when the disclosure to the National Assembly has been made.”
Buhari had explained that he would not assent the bill due to the situation in the country.
The president’s position was contained in a letter he sent to the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan.
Buhari also cited high cost of conducting direct primaries, the security challenge of monitoring the election, violation of citizens’ rights and marginalization of small political parties, amongst other things as reasons why he won’t assent the bill.
He noted that it would be better if political parties are allowed to decide how to pick their candidates for elections.