President Muhammadu Buhari has said he assented to the Electoral Act Bill despite its defect and asked the National Assembly to delete a contentious clause.
Buhari, in his statement, cited Section 84 (12) of the Bill, now, an Act of parliament, which disqualifies serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at political parties’ conventions or congresses.
The new Electoral Act stipulates that such political appointee must first resign his position.
According to Buhari, “This provision has introduced qualification and disqualification criteria that ultra vires the Constitution”.
Buhari explained the constitutional only expects that a political appointee or a serving public office holder in such situation should resign, withdraw, or retire at least 30 days before the date of the election.
He affirms that “the practical application of section 84(12) of the Electoral Bill, 2022” inhibits section 40 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“It will be stretching things beyond the constitutional limit to import extraneous restriction into the constitution on account of practical application of section 84(12) of the bill where political parties’ conventions and congresses were to hold earlier than 30 days to the election.”
President Buhari concluded that, despite the defect, he signed because of “benefits of the Bill, industry, time, resources and energy committed in its passage.”
He however urged the National Assembly to further amend the bill and delete the contentious section.