The Attorney General of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami, SAN, has written a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari highlighting his concerns on the inclusion of mandatory direct primaries in the Electoral Act amendment bill.
Garba Shehu, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, confirmed that the President had received a communication from Malami on the bill, but said he was not privy to the content of the letter. But a source at the Ministry of Justice said Malami advised the President that making direct primaries mandatory for all political parties could cause confusion.
According to the AGF, from a strictly legal point of view, if you are asking political parties to run direct primaries, it would mean that only new political parties will be bound by the law. Existing political parties will not, because they have registered their parties and filed their constitutions long time ago on the basis of what is contained there.
He is currently attending the 2021 United Nations Conference of State parties on Anti-corruption currently holding in Egypt.
Meanwhile, some Civil Rights Organizations have been putting pressure on the President to sign the Electoral Act amendment bill because it empowers the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to transmit election results electronically.
Recall that President Buhari received the Electoral Act amendment bill on November 19, 2021 and has until December 19, 2021 to sign it or communicate to the national Assembly about the bill. However, if after 30days, the President refuses to sign the bill, the Senate and the House of Representatives can recall the bill and pass it.
It should be noted that if the bill is passed in the form it was sent to the President by two-thirds majority votes in both Chambers, the bill automatically becomes a law even without the signature of the President.