President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the highly anticipated Electoral Bill into law.
President Buhari signed the bill at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, on Friday.
The president noted that the bill would 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.
What the President is saying
President Buhari in his speech noted that he 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 Nigeria.
The president noted that the current Bill comes with a great deal of improvement from the previous Electoral Bill 2021 as it contains provisions that could positively revolutionize elections in Nigeria through the introduction of new technological innovations
He said the substance of the bill was both informative 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.”
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.”
Speaking further, he said the practical application of section 84(12) of the Bill will subject serving political office holders to inhibitions and restrictions referred to under section 40 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
He noted 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.
He said, “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.”
President Buhari ended his speech by saying “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.”
Present at the signing of the bill were; Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President; Ahmed Lawan, the Senate President; and Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives.