Buhari Yet To Decide On Electoral Bill, Says Presidency

President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to decide on whether to assent or reject the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021, the Presidency has clarified.

Senior special assistant to the president on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives), Hon. Umar El-Yakub, while speaking to our correspondent via telephone noted that the communications between the president and the National Assembly is not a secret affair, adding that such communication would have been read on the floor of the parliament.

“The long and short of it is that there has never been any communication of such, there is nothing like that. If there is any communication, it will be disclosed publicly at the National Assembly.

“We all need to be more responsible, we don’t need to unnecessarily overheat the polity. There have been many comments going back and forth on lies. What I can tell you is that if you are doing your calculations right, you know that the president constitutionally has 30 days to sign the Bill. The Bill was transmitted on the 19th November, so the president has 10 more days,” El-Yakub said.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahood Yakubu, has said it was purely the responsibility of political parties to conduct primary elections, either direct or indirect.

Yakubu made this known while fielding questions from journalists shortly after he met with the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations.

When pointedly asked if the commission had submitted the cost of monitoring direct primaries of political parties, the chairman said, “INEC did not come up with any cost for the conduct of primaries per political parties by the direct method. We have had very good discussions with the committee on Appropriation of the National Assembly pursuant to the resolution of the House and what we discussed you will not hear from me. Maybe, the chairman of the committee will tell you.”

But the chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, Hon Mukhtar Batera, said the role of INEC in the primary elections of political parties is minimal, as he said individual political parties have the responsibility of conducting primaries.

“In our discussions with the INEC chairman, we wanted to know his requirements for the 2023 elections as well as the cost of direct or indirect primaries. On the primaries, when we discussed with him, he specifically told us the role of INEC in direct or indirect primaries which he said is just minimal. He said the responsibility lies with all the political parties. He said party primaries is the role of political parties and not INEC.

“For direct primaries, what the INEC chairman told us is that only the political parties have the responsibility on primaries and the funding of the primaries,” he said.

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