President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to assent to the Electoral Act Bill because he is in a tight corner over the reservations expressed by governors, according to a source.
Governors and federal lawmakers have disagreed on the revised Electoral Act passed by the National Assembly on November 9, 2021, over the adoption of direct primaries.
Last month, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the expectation of members of National Assembly was that Buhari would sign Electoral Bill 2021 into law.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, had said the President was in support of the direct primary which allows all card-carrying members of political parties to be involved in the choice of candidates for major elections after a meeting with the president.
But governors have reportedly been up against the direct primary mode, which is capable of whittling down their influence.
The president’s refusal to act on the bill has thrown a lot of concerns in the polity. Checks by Daily Trust show the 30-day timeline for Buhari to act will elapse on Sunday.
After receiving the bill, Buhari had written to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), seeking advice.
The letter addressed to INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, sought comments on the controversial sole adoption of direct primary option for parties to produce candidates for elections among other key issues ahead of 2023 general elections.
A top presidency source told Daily Trust that though the president has been a promoter of direct primaries, he was in a tight corner
“Contending forces are pushing their cases before him but we have no indication of what will happen. He has always been a promoter of direct primaries. He understands what is going on and he wants the system to be democratised,” the source said.
The two presidential advisers on National Assembly, Senator Babajide Omoworare (Senate) and Ibrahim El-Yakub (House) have said the president will not act on the bill secretly.
Ahead of the 2019 elections, President Buhari had rejected the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2018, saying the bill was passed at a time the country was gearing for elections.