By Rafiu Ajakaye
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has once again withheld assent to the country's electoral amendment bill, saying introducing a new law just two months to the general election could cause confusion.
“I am declining assent to the bill principally because I am concerned that passing a new electoral bill this far into the electoral process for the 2019 general election which commenced under the 2015 Electoral Act, could create some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process,” Buhari said in a December 6 communication to the parliament.
“Any real or apparent change to the rules this close to the election may provide an opportunity for disruption and confusion in respect of which law governs the electoral process,” he added.
The communication will be read at the parliament next Tuesday, although lawmakers have leaked its contents to the media on Friday.
Buhari said he might sign the bill into law if the lawmakers add a clause specifying that it would become operational after the general elections.
Previously, Buhari had twice rejected the legislation -- in March and again in September -- saying it usurped the powers of the electoral body to organize elections and certain clauses ran afoul of the country's constitution, among other reasons.