Why Buhari May Not Sign Electoral Act Amendment Bill

Why Buhari May Not Sign Electoral Act Amendment Bill

By Babajide Okeowo

Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation has disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari would not sign the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill if it’s amended for selfish interest as against national interest.

The minister made this known while featuring on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ on Monday.

When asked if he’s satisfied with the amendment made to the bill by the lawmakers, Malami said the bill, which had been transmitted to the presidency since last week for the second time, just got to his to him yesterday.

He said it would be premature for him to comment on the bill because he has not reviewed it to understand what it contains.

He said, “In terms of satisfaction, honestly, it is premature for me to conclude, taking into consideration (that) I can admit to you that the electoral bill was only received in my office this afternoon as I was preparing to come over for this engagement with Channels TV.

“So, I have not taken steps to review the content and context of what has been presented for consideration for the President. So, it is premature and pre-emptive for me at this moment, now to arrive at any conclusion, taking into consideration that I have not gone through the document to understand what it contains and then analyse the same in accordance with the constitution and the prevailing laws.”

Reacting to a question on the president’s promise to leave a legacy behind on good election for Nigerians, Malami said, “Honestly, without going through or reading through, I am not in a position to assess whether the bill, indeed, has factored the national and public interest, as against selfish interest, among others; whether it is a bill that can stand the test of constitutionality and legality.”

The minister further said he would advise the president to reject the amended bill if it’s against the public and national interests.

“Certainly, if I am not satisfied and if I am of the opinion that it is against the public interest, the national interest; and then against the dictates of democratic process, I would advise accordingly.” he said.

Malami maintained that his office is a constitutional one that is fundamentally governed by public interest.

He promised to do whatever it takes to deepen democracy in Nigeria and protect the interest of 200 million Nigerians.

Recall that last year, President Buhari had rejected the first version of the bill following his consultations with Malami and the Independent National Electoral Commission on the bill.

The president thereafter sent the bill back to the National Assembly for further amendment.

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