Buhari is consulting widely over new electoral bill — Adesina

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By Bankole Taiwo, Akande Seth

The Presidential Spokesman, Femi Adesina on Monday explained reasons for the delay in the signing of the new electoral bill 2021 into law saying that President Buhari was still consulting very widely to ensure that only what is best for the country is done.

Speaking on Politics Today on Channels Television monitored by our Correspondent, Femi Adesina said the issues around the new electoral bill could be best described as work-in-progress saying that President Buhari will eventually sign.

Speaking on the purported letter sent by the President to the Independent National  Electoral Commission (INEC) over this new electoral bill Adesina said, “Well what I will just say about that is that it’s work in progress on the electoral act.

“The President has a number of days within which he should sign that bill into law and be rest assured that the President will do whatever is good for the country at any given time, so it’s a work-in-progress, there  is a  window of a number of days and  the President will do what is best for nigeria at the right time.”

He said those who are interested in the content of the the communication from the President to INEC should get in touch with INEC saying “you will get that because it went direct from the president to INEC, so from INEC’s end you can get some feedbacks on that.

“Well, what I am telling you is that it doesn’t necessarily go through the media department of the presidency, if it didn’t go through the media department, then I won’t have to tell you than what is in the public domain because it is a transmission direct from the President to INEC.”

He said, “What I can tell Nigerians is that the President is consulting widely and he would do what is best for the country irrespective of that electoral act.

Adesina said some of the fundamental issues with the new electoral bill are already in the public domain saying “you have always treated these issues particularly direct primaries, indirect primaries and other issues in that proposed law, that is why I said it is in the public domain, what are the germain fundamentals issues in that proposed laws?

“They are already in the public domain, the issue now is will the president assent, and I have told you the president is consulting, he has to consult with all the stakeholders and then arrive at a position that is best for the country. That consultation is going on, part  of the conversation was the communication with INEC, and there are other stakeholders that have also been reached for positions and counsel on that. At the end of the day, Mr President is going to aggregate all of it and what is best for the country is what he will do.”

The Presidential Spokesman said that the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the federation,  Abubakar Malami SAN is much involved in the ongoing consultation explaining that “there are several things that never get done without the counsel of the Attorney General, you can be sure of that and this falls right within the body for the Attorney General, so you can be sure that every bit of the way the he is carried along.”

Speaking on the insinuation coming from the presidency, that the President may eventually not sign the bill, Adesina said “what I will tell you is that the President is there to ensure that things go well in the country, processes are enhanced and the new law will enhance our electoral processes in different ways, so the President will look at that critically and he will do the best for the country.”

He disclosed further that President Buhari decided not to sign the earlier one does not foreclose that he would react same way to this new bill saying, “You may not know the whole story of the earlier one that wasn’t acceptable, but I can tell you it was the best for the country.

“You will see that the same set of people that seem to be piling pressure on the President to sign the former ones are also piling up pressure now, it could be because of some motives which would have served their purpose. Well, the previous one wasn’t signed for legitimacy reasons but this one there is still enough time. All I will say is that if it will serve Nigeria well the President will do what is needful.”

Adesina said that failure of the President to decide not to sign the bill will not in any way dent the image of President Buhari saying, “in terms of his image for democratic value, that image is made already. You will find out that elections has been better under President Buhari, the party has lost some legislatve seats. His reputation is to leave clean elections for Nigeria, whether the act is signed or not, it doesn’t detract his reputation.”