President Muhammadu Buhari has said he will sign an amended version of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill if the National Assembly becomes democratic and include other modes of selection of candidates.
The president stated this in an interview aired by Channels television on Wednesday and monitored by PREMIUM TIMES.
Mr Buhari’s comments come a few weeks after he rejected the bill citing the need to have an alternative mode of primary elections.
The president had withheld his assent to the bill after it was brought to him in November, citing the cost of conducting direct primary elections, security challenges, and possible manipulation of electoral processes by political parties.
In their reaction, lawmakers in the House of Representatives could not immediately take an action but said they would adequately address the matter in January.
Their counterparts in the Senate said they will also have to consult with the House.
The latest decline of assent by Mr Buhari to the Electoral Bill was the third in his almost eight years administration. He rejected it twice during the last assembly.
Condition for assent
Reacting to questions on the Electoral Bill, the president said the National Assembly needs to be more democratic and give the people other options of primary elections.
He said such options must include the addition of consensus candidates and indirect primary options for the selection of candidates.
“All I said (is) there should be options,” he said.
“We must not insist that it has to be direct; it should be consensus and indirect.”
Asked if he would sign if the lawmakers effect the change in that direction, he affirmed, “Yes, I will! I will sign.
“There should be options; you can’t dictate to people and say you are doing democracy. Give them other options so they can make a choice,” he said.
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