Indications emerged, yesterday, that President Muhammadu Buhari will sign the long-awaited Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 on Friday.
A Presidency source confirmed that, barring any last minute changes, the President assent to the bill around 12:00 p.m.
Anxiety had continued to mount over Buhari’s delay in assenting to the re-amended bill. Some members of the public and critical stakeholders had already concluded he would withhold assent again.
The National Assembly transmitted the legislation to Buhari on January 31, a second time. The President, however, delayed for more than 20 days.
Constitutionally, he has a 30-day window to assent or state reasons for not doing so.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “All these anxieties will disappear by Friday afternoon. He will be signing the bill around noon of that day. I believe he has taken his time so that the Act can be as unassailable as much as possible.”
Buhari had withheld assent to the bill in November 2021, citing the cost of conducting direct primary elections, security challenges, and possible manipulation of electoral processes by political players as part of reasons for his decision.
He, thereafter, gave some conditions, prompting lawmakers to re-work the bill.