Buhari opposes Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act and seeks for its modification
It is argued that this amounts to disenfranchisement of serving political officeholders.
Signs bill amending the Constitution into law
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday stated his opposition to Section 84 (12) of the recently enacted Electoral law, claiming it violates the country’s constitution.
As the President stated, the Electoral Act (Amendment) Law 2022 holds a great deal of promise for enhancing the country’s election procedures through the use of new technology and measures to foster clarity and transparency.
President Buhari instructed the National Assembly to promptly alter Section 84 (12) of the law to eliminate it, noting that it disqualifies political office holders from voting or being voted for at conventions or congresses of any political party for the purpose of nominating candidates for any election.
He stated that he consulted with key ministries, departments, and agencies of government following a comprehensive and complete examination of the Bill and its consequences for democratic processes in our country.
It was stated by him that the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2022, enacted by the National Assembly, had been handed to the President for his signature on the 31st of January, 2022. ” As is customary, I sought advice from key ministries, departments, and agencies of government following a careful and thorough examination of the Bill and its consequences for democratic processes in our country.
“It is encouraging to observe that the present Bill significantly improves upon the previous Electoral Bill 2021. There are some noteworthy and commendable laws that, with the advent of new technical breakthroughs, have the potential to favorably change elections in Nigeria. These reforms would ensure citizens’ fundamental rights to vote and to vote effectively.
Additionally, the bill would make voting easier, more efficient, and less prone to misunderstandings by candidates and political parties who are disappointed with the outcome of the election.
“These admirable efforts are consistent with our aim of establishing a groundbreaking legislative framework that lays the groundwork for a credible and sound electoral process in which we can all take pride.”
President Buhari expressed his opposition to Section 84 (12) of the new law, saying, “Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, based on my study, the Bill’s substance is both reformative and progressive. I am making this bold assertion because I believe the Bill has enormous potential.
Included in this list are sections 3 and 9(2); 34; 41; 47; 84(9); (10); and (11), as well as additional parts that address the Bill’s democratic effectiveness.
That can’t be said about one part of the proposed Bill, though. This part of the Bill has problems because it doesn’t follow the Constitution.
“Section 84 (12) entitles serving political office holders to be disenfranchised from voting or being voted for at conventions or congresses of any political party for the purpose of nominating candidates for any election held earlier than 30 days before to the National Election.”
Section 84(12) says that “no political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the Convention or Congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.” The President said that it violated the Constitution by imposing a blanket restriction and disqualification on serving political office holders of which they are constitutionally a part.
“If enacted, section 84(12) of the Electoral Bill, 2022 will, by operation of law, subject serving political office holders to the inhibitions and limits set out in sections 40 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“It is critical to highlight that the only constitutional requirement imposed on serving political office holders who qualify as public officers in the sense of the constitution is that they quit, withdraw, or retire at least 30 days before to the election date.
“Thus, it will be exceeding the constitutional limit to introduce an extraneous constraint into the constitution as a result of the actual application of section 84(12) of the bill, which required political parties to conduct conventions and congresses earlier than 30 days before the election.
“In light of the foregoing, and with particular reference to the benefits of the Bill, industry, time, resources, and energy expended in its passage, I hereby assent to the Bill and request that the National Assembly consider immediate amendments that bring the Bill into conformity with the Constitution by deleting section 84 (12).”
It was a big deal to President Buhari that the National Assembly worked so hard to improve the Electoral Bill 2021.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi, chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum and governor of Ekiti state, addressed journalists following the ceremony and praised the President for honoring his commitment to sign the amendment bill into law.
When asked about the impact of the new law, he stated, “I believe it is a tremendous relief that this piece of legislation has finally been passed 12 years after the previous one.”
“The most recent Electoral Act in effect is a 2010 Act. That’s why we should give a big thanks to Nigeria’s National Assembly, especially its committees on INEC. They did such a good job putting this together and making sure we have a law that can meet both global standards and the desires of ordinary Nigerians.
“There has been considerable hullabaloo over this in recent weeks, to the point of pessimism that it would not be signed. I’m glad that some of us were proven correct, because we told the media that Mr. President would sign this piece of legislation as soon as the sections he raised concerns about were removed, and they have been removed, and he has lived up to that belief that many of us held, because he has always stated to Nigerians that one legacy he wishes to leave as he leaves office is a credible and fair electoral system. And this will go a long way toward enabling that.”