Electoral Bill

Failed Electoral Bill: Buhari Confirms Prime Business Africa’s December 1 Exclusive Report

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Prime Business Africa’s December 1, 2021, early morning exclusive report that President Muhammadu Buhari had declined Presidential Assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill has been confirmed. With the headline, “Electoral Act: Buhari Declines Assent Over ‘N500B’ Direct Primary Costs”, Prime Business Africa had published an exclusive report revealing that the president had met with governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) who advised against direct primaries as contained in the Bill because of high costs and possibility of widening the cracks in the APC.

The governors, Prime Business Africa gathered, also told the President that their People’s Democratic Party (PDP) counterparts were of the same opinion on Direct Primaries. President thereafter sought the opinion of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, who expressed concerns that conducting parallel primaries for the political parties, especially the APC and PDP, would be tantamount to organizing general elections in the country more than twice and would be economically burdensome on Nigeria’s struggling economy.

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READ ALSO: Six Reasons Buhari Rejects Direct Primaries In Electoral Amendment Bill

Based on authoritative information available to it, this newpaper, therefore, informed Nigerians that President Buhari would not be signing the Bill and that the National Assembly would be left with the options of either overriding the President’s veto in a joint session of the two chambers or sit to reconsider new amendments to the sections (direct primaries for political parties) on which the presidency raised issues.

According to Prime Business Africa’s exclusive report on December 1, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, who the President subsequently consulted for legal advice returned with the counsel that the president would not have to sign the Bill in its current form.

READ ALSO: Pressure On President Buhari To Sign Re-enacted Electoral Bill

Following the expose by Prime Business Africa, the nation became rife with counter-narratives with some government officials saying that the President was still consulting and had not denied assent. Prime Business Africa nevertheless stood by its story with the follow-up story: “N500Bn Direct Primary Costs: Prime Business Africa’s Exclusive Report Triggers Nationwide Horse-trading”

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READ ALSO:Electoral Act: Buhari Declines Assent Over ‘N500B’ Direct Primary Costs

A newspaper had, two days after the exclusive story, reported that APC governors were now lobbying National Assembly members to reject direct primaries in the Bill, a narrative that seemed to further authenticate the Prime Business Africa exclusive. Others reiterated that the President was still consulting, days after Prime Business Africa reported that he had already declined assent and communicated his opinion to sources close to him.

Few days after, a section of the media, in replication of Prime Business Africa’s exclusive story, interestingly published that President Buhari may not sign the document, thereby confirming the special disclosure by Prime Business Africa. One of the mediums, however, claimed that it was being reported for the first time, an indication that the newspaper had not seen Prime Business Africa’s original report on Buhari’s decision to decline assent to the Bill.
With Prime Business Africa’s exclusive on the Electoral Amendment Bill fully confirmed independently, a section of the media, which anchored its followups on the Prime Business Africa’s original story days after, appears to be erroneously laying claims to its exclusivity, a development, which a media analyst said depicts the rot and laziness in today’s practice.

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