President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the long-awaited Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 into law.
The President signed the amendment bill into law around 12:25pm at a brief epoch making ceremony witnessed by Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila of the House of Representatives, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and his Chief of Staff (CoS) Professor Ibrahim Gambari, among others.
The National Assembly transmitted the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 to President Buhari on January 31, a second time, having reportedly revised the bill, which he withheld his assent to for some noted reasons.
The President had withheld his assent to the bill in November 2021, citing the cost of conducting direct primary elections, security challenges, and possible manipulation of electoral processes by political players as part of the reasons for his decision.
While speaking before signing the bill, President Buhari said The Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2022, passed by the National Assembly, holds a lot of promise for improving the election processes in the country, with introduction of new technology, and efforts to engender clarity and transparency.
“It is gratifying to note that the current Bill comes with a great deal of improvement from the previous Electoral Bill 2021. There are salient and praiseworthy provisions that could positively revolutionize elections in Nigeria through the introduction of new technological innovations. These innovations would guarantee the constitutional rights of citizens to vote and to do so effectively.
“The Bill would also improve and engender clarity, effectiveness and transparency of the election process, as well as reduce to the barest minimum incidences of acrimony arising from dissatisfied candidates and political parties.
“These commendable efforts are in line with our policy to bequeath posterity and landmark legal framework that paves the way for credible and sound electoral process that we would all be proud of,’’ he said.
He said the signed document came with a great deal of improvement as It will “engender transparency to our electoral process.”
Buhari, however, asked the National Assembly to rework on the provisions that barred political appointees from electoral contest so that it could be in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.