Mon. May 20th, 2024

Ngozi James

The Presidency on Monday said the civil society organisations planning to embark on a protest on Tuesday over President Muhammadu Buhari’s delay in assenting to the reworked Electoral Act Amendment Bill are ignorant of provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

Global Sentinel had reported that 26 civil society groups have decided to stage a protest on February 22 over the delay by president Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Bill.

The CSOs in a joint statement had resolved to “declare Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, as the National Day of Protest to demand immediate assent to the bill.

Reacting, the Presidency in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said slammed the groups.

Adesina in the statement said, “Some interest groups are cashing in on what they consider a delay in the signing of the Electoral Bill into law by the President to foment civil disorder and muddy the waters.

“One can just pity their ignorance of Constitutional requirements, as the President has a window of 30 days within which to sign the Bill, or decline assent, after it had been transmitted to him by the National Assembly.

“It is on record that the amended Bill was sent to the Presidency on January 31, 2022, which means that the Executive could do due diligence on it till March 1, as prescribed by the Constitution.

“A proposed legislation that has to do with the electoral fortunes of the country needs to be thoroughly scrutinized, and be made as near-perfect as possible.

“Those playing cheap politics with it are, therefore, encouraged to hold their peace, knowing that the right thing will be done within the lawful time.”

Meanwhile, the CSOs had in their press statement noted they were “aware that on the 31st January 2022, the National Assembly transmitted the Electoral Bill 2022 to the President for assent after expeditiously reworking the bill to meet the President’s expectations.

“Further aware, the bill, when signed, requires INEC to issue Notice of Election not later than 360 days before the day appointed for an election. Therefore, the President has to give assent to the bill on or before 22nd February 2022 if the dates announced for the 2023 elections are to be maintained”.

They however said their concern was that “the delay in granting presidential assent to the Electoral Bill, 2022 will create legal uncertainties that threaten the integrity of the off-cycle elections in Ekiti, Osun, and the 2023 general election, which is 366 days away”.

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