Buhari hasn’t signed a direct primary into law by the deadline of December 19th.

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President Muhammadu Buhari
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Buhari hasn’t signed a direct primary into law by the deadline of December 19th.

President Muhammadu Buhari
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Buhari hasn’t signed a direct primary into law by the deadline of December 19th.

Newsreport gathered that according to sources in the Presidency, President Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) has three options for dealing with the Electoral Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill.

Officials claim that the President has the ability to use a “pocket veto.

The lawmakers had restricted political parties to direct primaries in the selection of candidates to run for elections in the bill passed by the National Assembly and transmitted to Buhari, a clause that has sparked debate even within the ruling All Progressives Congress.

 

While it is expected that Buhari will either sign or withdraw his assent to the contentious bill, officials in the Presidential Villa have stated that the President can also remain silent on the issue.

 

It was further learned on Friday evening that the bill had still not been assented to by the President and no communication had been sent to the National Assembly, even as Buhari had traveled to Turkey along with his wife and seven ministers.

 

“The President has not even done anything on the bill talk less of transmitting back to the National Assembly. Even after the deadline, he can still sign it,” a source told our correspondent.

 

Buhari, who received the bill on November 19, has until December 19 (Sunday) to sign it or communicate to the National Assembly his feelings and comments about the bill.

 

But if after 30 days, the President refuses to sign the bill and the National Assembly is not in support of the President’s amendments, the Senate and the House of Representatives can recall the bill and pass it.

 

If the bill is passed in the form it was sent to the President by two-thirds majority votes in both chambers, the bill automatically becomes a law even without the signature of the President.

The President had a few weeks ago written a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission, seeking the view of INEC over the matter.

 

Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Jega, had appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, where he reportedly told the lawmakers that the parties had more burden, especially financial, to bear if the bill becomes law as it is.

 

Buhari had also sought the advice of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), who has told the President that restriction of parties to direct primary would cause confusion.

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