Buhari defends action on Electoral Bill

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The National Assembly on Tuesday read President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter in which he declined assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

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The letter was read at both the Senate and House of Representatives plenary session, a day after reports emerged that Buhari had declined assent to the bill.

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Before the letter was read, the Senate had gone into a closed-door session to discuss the content of the document.

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After the session, Senator Lawan read the letter in which President Buhari explained the reasons for his action.

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In the letter, Buhari cited the direct primaries clause as the reason for his decision.

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He argued that the clause throws up several challenges one of which is the cost of conducting direct primaries. According to him, direct primaries will increase the Federal Government’s financial burdens because they are expensive to conduct.

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Aside from the cost implication, the President explained that direct primaries will stifle smaller parties and also raise security concerns since there would be a large turnout of voters in such a mode of election.

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Buhari added that political parties should decide the best way to pick their candidates for elections, noting that his stance was based on a careful review and consultations.

The President’s move ends the debate over the delay in signing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

Critics and high-profile Nigerians had before now speculated over the possible reasons for Buhari’s delay in assenting to the bill.

While some believe it was the direct primaries clause, other like Governor Nyesom Wike claimed it was due to the electronic transmission of results.

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