Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday for the fourth time, rejected assent to the Electoral Bill which was passed to him to sign into law by both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
President Buhari who has written to the lower and Upper chamber said that he could not sign the Electoral Bill into law at this time that the country was preparing for the 2019 Presidential and general elections, adding that he could only assent to it after next year’s elections. He said that if it was done now, it would end up causing uncertainty and crisis in the land.
In the letter dated 6th December, 2018 and addressed to both the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara which was received yesterday, President Buhari said that he would only sign the bill after the elections, just as he identified some aspects of the bill that should be corrected by the lawmakers.
The letter says : “Pursuant to Section 58(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ( 1999 as amended), I hereby convey to the Senate my decision on 6th December, 2018 to decline assent to the Electoral( Amendment) Bill, 2018 recently passed by the National Assembly.
“I am declining assent to the bill principally because I am concerned that passing a new electoral bill this far into the electoral process for the 2019 general elections which commenced under the 2015 electoral act, could create some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process. Any real or apparent change to the rules this close to the election may provide an opportunity for disruption and confusion in respect of which law governs the electoral process.
“This leads me to believe that it is in the best interest of the country and our democracy for the national assembly to specifically state in the bill that the electoral act will come into effect and be applicable to elections commencing after the 2019 elections .