President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, citing financial, security and legal consequences as reasons for declining assent.
The rejection was conveyed in letters read in the two chambers of the National Assembly on Tuesday by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila in Abuja
TheFact reports that the bill was transmitted to the president on November 19.
The President noted that the mandatory use of direct primaries for all political parties in the country will be too expensive to execute, saying that it will put a financial burden on Nigeria’s slim resources.
He said that conducting direct primary elections will be tasking, explaining that since such mode of election means a large turnout of voters, the move would stretch the security agencies.
Buhari also expressed fears that the proposed mandatory use of direct primaries will amount to the violation of citizens’ rights will be violated and will lead to marginalisation for smaller political parties.
The Commander-in- Chief said the proposed use of mandatory direct primary elections will also lead to more litigations by party members.
The President in his lengthy letter added that it would infringe on the rights of Nigerians to participate in governance and democracy.
“The amendment as proposed is a violation of the underlying spirit of democracy, which is characterised by freedom of choices of which political party membership is a voluntary exercise of the constitutional right of freedom of association,” the statement reads in part.
He added that the existing constitution of the parties already registered with the Independent National Electoral Commission( INEC) permits direct, indirect and consensus primaries.