ABUJA – Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said he “principally” declined assent to Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018 as it will “provide opportunity for disruption and confusion” to electoral laws ahead of the 2019 general election.

In a letter dated 6, December, 2018, sent to the Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Buhari said his refusal to sign the bill into law was in the ‘best interest of the country and our democracy” and requested that the National Assembly should move the enactment of the bill to after the February 2019 election.

“It is in the best interest of the country and our democracy for the National Assembly to specifically state in the bill, that Electoral Act will come into effect and be applicable to elections commencing after 2019 General Elections”, Buhari said.

The President had declined assent to the bill three times citing “drafting issues”.

He also listed the outstanding amendments to be made to the Bill.

“Section 5 of the Bill, amending section 18 of the Principal Act should indicate the subsection to which the substitution of the figure “30” for the figure “60” is to be affected.

“Section 11 of the Bill, amending Section 36 should indicate the subsection in which the proviso is to be introduced.

“Section 24 of the Bill which amends Section 85 (1) should be redrafted in full as the introduction of the “electing” to the sentence may be interpreted to mean that political parties may give 21 days notice of the intention to merge, as opposed to the 90 days provided in Section 84 (2) of the Electoral Act which provides the provision for merge of political parties.”

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