From Elohor Igbru, Abuja
Nigerians will have a pleasant surprise as President Muhammadu Buhari migh sign the much anticipated National Electoral Bill in a matter of hours.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina made this known on Tuesday during an interview with Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme.
“He (Buhari) will sign it any moment from now, it could be today, it could be tomorrow, it could be anytime, but within the 30 days.
“It could be signed today; it could be signed tomorrow. In a matter of hours, not days. Hours could be 24 hours, it could be 48 hours; not days, not weeks.”
Just a day prior, Adesina had released a statement warning those who want to use the bill for cheap popularity to desist.
The statement titled, ‘Assent To Electoral Bill: No Need For Cyber Rattling,: Adesina said some interest groups are cashing in on the perceived delay to foment civil disorder saying there is still time for the President to sign the bill.
Adesina 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 scrutinised, 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.”
Civil Society Coalition Protests
Meanwhile a coalition of civil society groups today held a rally at the Unity Fountain in Abuja to urge the president sign the electoral bill so that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can have the allotted time of 365 days to prepare for the 2023 general elections.
One of the leaders of the coalition, Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi said it is important that the bill be assented today so that the president would not fall short of the provisions of the electoral Act.
Other organisations represented diverse demography of the population including People Living with Disability who wanted the bill assented because it caters to their welfare.