President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to assent to the electoral act amendment bill drew reactions from several quarters on Tuesday. While Governors such as Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti and Samuel Ortom of Benue State lauded the President’s decision, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and some federal lawmakers were clearly disappointed.
The National Assembly had transmitted the bill to the President in November but in a letter dated December 13 and forwarded to the National Assembly, he informed them of his decision to withhold his signature. In his letter, President Buhari cited several issues with the bill’s clause on direct primaries. The President, according to the letter, explained that direct primaries are expensive. This, he said, will put a financial burden on the country’s resources.
He further noted that conducting direct primary elections will be tasking, explaining that since such mode of election means a large turnout of voters, the move would stretch the security agencies. The Nigerian leader equally fears that with direct primaries, citizens’ rights will be violated while smaller political parties may face marginalisation.
According to him, the move will also lead to more litigations by party members.