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President Buhari Finally Bows to Pressure, Readies to Sign Electoral Bill

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Presidential sources have indicated that President Muhammadu Buhari will sign the Electoral Bill, 2022 into law on Friday, 25th February. If signed, it would be the first time the President would yield to pressures to sign an Electoral bill into law since his election in 2015. On five previous occasions, Buhari had rejected bills passed by the National Assembly on Electoral reform, citing different excuses on each occasion. It will be recalled that the President repeatedly refused to sign electoral reform bills that could have been used to improve the conduct of the 2019 general elections. The last excuse just before the elections in 2019,  was that the amendment was coming too close to the elections. In the more recent refusal, the President had cited the excuse of limited options for the mode of political party primaries. The National Assembly responded by opening up the options and accepting that political parties could use indirect, direct or even consensus method for their primaries to select candidates to stand elections.

Pressure had mounted from civil society organisations, political parties, National Assembly members, international community and the media for Buhari to sign the bill. The Electoral Bill 2022 contains several progressive amendments including provisions for electronic transmission of results, use of technology, inclusivity and adjusted timelines for electoral activities.