The leadership of the National Assembly, the Senate and the House of Representatives, has read a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari in which he declined assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
The letter was read after the Senators came out from a closed-door session that they held from 10.42 to 11.42 am.
President Buhari said that Direct Primaries would raise credibility issues as well as lead to undue interference, even as Buhari has asked the Senate to quickly Consider 2021 Appropriation Virement of N13.588 trillion to fund infrastructure.
Buhari also said that he was withholding assent to the Bill based on Direct primaries because it would cause a huge financial burden on political parties, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the economy and security agencies, adding that the process is undemocratic.
The National Assembly had on Tuesday, 9th November 2021, passed the much anticipated Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 after both the Senate and the House of Representatives deliberated extensively on the report of the Conference Committee on the bill.
The Senate had on that day, passed the harmonised version of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
The passage followed the consideration of the report of the Conference Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives on the bill.
In line with customary legislative procedures, the two chambers had in September set up Conference Committees to reconcile disparity in the versions of the bill as passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Consequently, the National Assembly had on November 19, 2021, transmitted the bill to President Buhari for assent in line with Section 58(4) of the 1999 Constitution that “Where a bill is presented to the President for assent, he shall within 30 days thereof signify that he assents or that he withholds assent.”