The Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has said that in a matter of hours, President Buhari will sign the amended Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
There has been apprehension over when the President will sign the bill into law so that INEC can begin adequate plans for the 2023 elections. The President 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 harmonized 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.
The bill was transmitted to the President on January 25 and according to the law, it must be signed within 30 days. As February gradually comes to an end, there are fears as to when the President will sign the bill into law so INEC can begin preparations for the 2023 elections.
Speaking during an interview on Channels TV this morning, Adesina said ;
“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.”
Speaking further, Adesina said;
“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”