President Muhammadu Buhari has received the recently passed Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 into law by both chambers of the National Assembly, designed to improve the voting process ahead of the 2023 general poll.
Buhari, as gathered, has directed the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to understudy the documents and possibly offer him the best advice whether to give his assent or not.
The president’s receipt of the document was confirmed by his aide on Media, and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on Monday during an interview on a popular Television programme.
Adesina said: “I can confirm to you that the document has been received by President Buhari and the document is currently been understudied”.
On whether Buhari would sign the document after being lobbied by House of Representatives members led by their Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, he stated that the president was the only person that could determine whether the bill should be signed or not.
According to him, after the speaker, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, will also be visiting him today and issues on the electoral bill will possibly be discussed during their conversation at the Villa.
Adesina’s confirmation came barely three days after the bill was transmitted to the executive for assent, in order for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adjust its operations ahead of next year’s gubernatorial poll in Ekiti and Osun states.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly matters (Senate), Babajide Omoworare, confirmed this in a statement on Friday, which was made available to journalists in Abuja.
The bill was passed after a conference committee of the upper and lower legislative chambers harmonised the version of the House of Representatives and the Senate to statutorily allow electronic transmission of election results.
Omoworare, citing relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution as amended, said the bill was transmitted on Friday in anticipation that it would be signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Part of the statement read: “Please be informed that in pursuance of Section 58 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and the Acts Authentication Act Cap. A2 LFN 2004, the National Assembly has transmitted the Electoral Bill 2021 to Mr. President today Friday November 19, 2021.”
The harmonised version has placed on the country’s electoral umpire the sole responsibility of determining the mode of transmission of election results.
The clause in the amended act that empowers INEC to transmit election results electronically was contained in clause 52 (2) of the Electoral Act.