Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation, has said President Muhammadu Buhari will not give his assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill because of its flaws.
Malami said this during a phone-in program on Radio Kano while responding to questions on Sunday.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last week Monday told the National Assembly via a letter that he declined assent to the bill because of direct primaries, which was made the mandatory mode of primaries for political parties to adopt.
Speaking on the development, Malami said the president believes that the electoral bill is a violation of the rights of political parties and their members to choose their choice of primaries, that the mandatory direct primaries increase the cost occurred by political parties, lead to security challenges and will create crises that would result to litigation.
The AGF added that President Buhari believes the proposed law did not capture the interest of all Nigerians but only that of the National Assembly members.
He said: “What you should understand about the leadership of the country most especially as it regards President Muhammadu Buhari on any law presented to him for signing, the President is entitled to certain rights.
“When you talk about politics he has rights, if you talk about the economy, the business community also have rights on him, if you are talking about 60% of Nigerians that are not politicians, if you talk about the economy he also has rights, if you are talking about security, there is also what is expected from him. The President has to consider laws that are sustainable.
“The job of the President is that of politics, economy, business, security, legislation, politicians and non-politicians. This is because the leadership of the country is not for the politicians alone, it is a leadership that affects the social life of the people, their religion, economy, security and others. This is contrary to the leadership of the legislators which is solely political.
“Therefore, the lawmakers are only concerned about their political inclination while the President is concerned about the entire lives of Nigerians made up of politicians and non-politicians.
“Any bill signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari is in the interest of all Nigerians irrespective of their inclinations. He is after satisfying the interest of the over 200 million Nigerians he is serving and not a particular sector.”
The minister further highlighted the cons of the bill, especially the cost implication of direct primaries on political parties.
“For example, one of the reasons is that there are 18 political parties and a law is founded that will allow for direct primaries. The difference between this and the general election is small because it allows for all Nigerians to come about and say their opinions.
“This means that you will repeat the general elections 18 times. Today INEC requires N305 billion for the 2023 general elections. Now if the general election, which is not the newly proposed electoral system, will cost this much, how much will it cost to do the same election in the APC? It might cost at least N200 billion because it will involve everyone.
“Although the good side of the law is that INEC is required to monitor it. Therefore, if it is assumed that every political party will spend N200 billion, how much will then be spent in conducting the same primary election in 18 political parties just to produce a qualified candidate?
“Let’s assume there are about 60 million politicians in the country, what about the remaining over 160 million Nigerians who have nothing to do with politics? Are you fair to them? All the people want are good projects, good roads from Abuja to Kano, portable drinking water, good education, school feeding programme and the rest of them. Are you fair to the 160 million Nigerians using their wealth just to conduct primary elections to produce a party candidate, despite other demands by the public?
“My answer to this is that, to spend this N305 billion that will be given to the INEC and the about N200 billion to be given to the political parties is not fair to the remaining 160 million Nigerians who have no business about politics and political appointments. Their business is just a better life in Nigeria. This is the issue of cost implications,” Malami said.