The National Assembly, Peoples Democratic Party, over 45 opposition political parties under the aegis of the Coalition of United Political Parties, and some prominent Senior Advocates of Nigeria have kicked as President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday finally withheld his assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2018 passed by the National Assembly.
The controversial bill has been returned to the National Assembly after the President refused to sign it the fourth time. In a letter to the National Assembly , President Buhari expressed concern that passing a new electoral bill this far into the electoral process for the 2019 general elections, could provide an opportunity for disruption and confusion in respect of which law governs the electoral process.
He stated that it is in the best interest of the country that the Electoral Act comes into effect and be applicable to elections commencing after the 2019 general elections.
However the Senate has vowed to veto the bill, saying the new electoral draft is very significant to the conduct and outcome of the 2019 elections. The PDP has meanwhile urged the National Assembly to immediately override the President’s refusal to assent the bill, saying this would save the nation’s democracy. The PDP stated that President Buhari is afraid of the amendments because they essentially checked the APC’s alleged rigging plans.
Meanwhile, the CUPP said Buhari’s decision not to sign the bill is an invitation to electoral anarchy, adding that the President’s latest action portrayed him as a jittery President who is afraid of electoral defeat. Renowned Senior Advocates of Nigeria including Olisa Agbakoba, Mike Ozekhome, Femi Falana and Ifedapo Adedipe have also advised the National Assembly to evoke its constitutional powers to override the President’s assent in respect of the electoral act.