The Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan yesterday warned against the danger in stampeding President Muhammadu Buhari into signing the 2018 Electoral Act Amendment bill into law.
Recall that before the latest version was submitted to the Presidency, the President had withheld assent to the document about three times attributing the decision to ‘errors’ in the amended bill. With the 2019 general elections fast approaching, it is feared that the 2018 Electoral Act Amendment bill may not meet the stipulated time if not urgently signed into law by the President.
However, fielding questions speaking after Jumaat prayer at the Presidential Villa yesterday, Lawan advised that President Buhari should be allowed to take his time to study the document to avoid errors.
“And I will advise, even though I am not one of his advisers, that he goes through what has been sent to him line by line, understand whatever his advisers will tell him and of what we have sent will make the elections in 2019 better, then he signs. But, if however he discovers some provisions that will bring contradictions and controversies, he can withhold assent.
“I’m not advocating that he withholds assent but if he does, that is his right. I want to tell you that the APC caucus in the National Assembly stands with Mr. President on this.According to him, the amended 2006 Electoral Act could still be used for the 2019 general elections.
If properly implemented, the lawmaker said that the 2006 Electoral Act could deliver a much more transparent, free and fair elections in 2019 than what was experienced in 2015.
“The President is willing to sign the bill provided it meets certain conditions that will make our electoral processes better. I believe the President is studying this bill,” he stated According to him, President Buhari has signed more bills than any previous Presidents in this country.
The lawmaker noted that the President “has read and objected to certain provisions in many bills that were eventually sent back to the National Assembly for further legislative action before returning to him to look at it again.“Previous government of President Jonathan didn’t sign much, they kept most of the bills sent by the National Assembly. So, I want to give kudos to the President for ensuring that he looks into the bills before signing.
“Some he said he won’t sign because of this or that provisions which are either contradictory constitutionally or maybe it will cause more harm than good. Therefore, the National Assembly should look into it again.
“The electoral bill you are talking about has been sent back twice or thrice, that is to tell you that the president is willing to sign he bill provided it meets certain conditions that will make our electoral processes better and more sane.
“So, the President is studying this bill, is not like you will send it to him and he will immediately sign. This is a sign that he is really interested in what we sent back to him. It is for him and his advisers to read through line-by-line and see how best the electoral process can be enhanced.
“I don’t think we have ran out of time, in fact, I think we should encourage the president and those helping him to complete going through the bill before he signs.”