Nigeria: Finally, Buhari signs amended Electoral Bill into law

He claims that the Section has created qualification and disqualification criteria that are in violation of the Constitution by imposing blanket restrictions and disqualification on serving political office holders who are legally protected. [Image: courtesy]
Nigeria—President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Electoral Amendment Law into law, which has been rewritten.

On Friday, the president signed the measure in the presence of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and other officials in the Presidential Villa.

The law was signed just days after a presidential communications assistant, Femi Adesina, promised that President Buhari would sign it.

The president requested an adjustment to the bill before signing it, asking the National Assembly to remove Clause 84(12).

“No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at any political party’s Convention or Congress for the purpose of nominating candidates for any election,” the article states.

According to the president, the Clause disenfranchises serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at political party conventions or congresses for the purpose of nominating candidates for any election held more than 30 days before the national election.

He claims that the Section has created qualification and disqualification criteria that are in violation of the Constitution by imposing blanket restrictions and disqualification on serving political officeholders who are legally protected.

“If assented to, the actual implementation of section 84(12) of the Electoral Bill, 2022 will subject serving political office holders to the inhibitions and limits alluded to in sections 40 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution by operation of law.”

“It is critical to remember that the sole constitutional requirement put on serving political office holders who qualify as public officials within the meaning of the constitution is that they quit, withdraw, or retire at least 30 days before the election date.”

“Importing additional restrictions into the constitution on the basis of the practical application of section 84(12) of the law, where political parties’ conventions and congresses were to be held earlier than 30 days before the election, will be straining things beyond the constitutional limit.”

“…in light of the Bill’s benefits, industry, time, resources, and energy invested in its passage, I hereby assent to the Bill and request the National Assembly to consider immediate amendments that will bring the Bill into conformity with constitutionality by deleting section 84(12) accordingly,” he said.

Mr Buhari, who said he gathered feedback from relevant MDAs following extensive examinations of the law and its implications for Nigeria’s democratic processes, said it has key elements that might positively revolutionize Nigerian elections through the adoption of new technology advancements.