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PLAC’s Statement on President Buhari’s Veto of Electoral Bill 2021

Issued:  Tuesday, 21st December 2021

Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) is disappointed at the action of President Muhammadu Buhari in vetoing the Electoral Bill 2021, which was submitted to him for assent since 19th November 2021.

PLAC is concerned that the veto and delays in passing a new Electoral Act to conduct the 2023 General Elections is disruptive of the country’s democracy and electoral reforms, started since the Justice Uwais led Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) established by President Musa Yar’Adua in 2007, made reform recommendations. These reforms began to be implemented by President Goodluck Jonathan and have resulted in the conduct of improved elections in Nigeria, including the election of President Buhari in 2015. It is worrying that rather than seeking to expand and continue to build on the improvements made to the electoral system, present day political leaders have insisted on pursuing actions that derogate from the progress recorded so far, by refusing to agree to improved laws that seek to enhance Nigeria’s electoral system.

The current Electoral Bill has tried to resolve a number of outstanding issues in the electoral system such as providing legal backing for the use of voting devices and the electronic transmission of election results, as well as improved voting procedure for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).

President Buhari’s veto and any further delays to the enactment of an Electoral law for Nigeria poses a serious threat to the conduct of the forthcoming 2023 Nigerian General Elections.

PLAC is calling on the Nigerian National Assembly to seriously examine and review the communication from President Muhammadu Buhari and the reasons given for the veto, with a view to responding in a manner that saves the key reform provisions contained in the Electoral Bill.

It is our view that while the mode of conduct of political party primaries, whether by direct or indirect primaries, has significant impact on grassroots participation in politics, the National Assembly may need to address the concerns expressed by the President and amend the Electoral Bill to reflect the President’s singular concern with direct primaries, in order to save the other landmark reforms contained in the Electoral Bill 2021, over which the President has expressed no worries.

PLAC is also calling on the National Assembly to treat the issue of passing the new Electoral Bill as a matter of national emergency and convene a special session in the shortest possible time and irrespective of their end of year break, to consider a vote for the passage of the Electoral Bill 2021.

Clement Nwankwo
Executive Director
Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC)


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