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Electoral Act: Buhari Is Protecting Nigeria’s Democracy, Says Garba Shehu

The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, has given further insight into the President’s decision to withhold assent from the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Shehu said the move is part of efforts to protect the democracy of the nation and the President will do whatever he can to protect it.

“It is worth noting that, as one of Nigeria’s largest political parties, the ruling APC is one of those that stands to benefit from a bill that favours wealthier parties. But it is not the job of this government to protect the APC. It is the job of this government to protect Nigeria, her people and her democracy,” the statement read in part.

President Buhari had last Tuesday declined assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill over the direct primaries clause.

In a letter sent to the National Assembly, the President cited several issues with the clause, including legal, economic security challenges.

He added that it would also impact negatively on the rights of citizens to participate in the government as constitutionally ensured.

Another of his aides, Mr Femi Adesina had reiterated the concerns of the President, stating that he had sourced the opinions of several stakeholders before arriving at the decision.

“Nigeria’s strength as a nation and its status as one of the wealthiest economies in Africa with one of its highest standards of living owes above all to its proud democratic processes, which are enshrined in the Electoral Act of 2010.

“It is this act which the new bill seeks to amend. These amendments have been presented as a means to enhance and build upon our democratic processes. After careful review, the President’s Office has found that the opposite is true,” Mr Shehu reiterated in his statement on Tuesday.

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