Politics

Buhari won’t sign Electoral Bill if amended for selfish interest – Malami

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has hinted that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), may withhold assent from the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill if it is considered to have proposals based on personal interests.

According to the minister, the bill, which the National Assembly transmitted to the Presidency the second time on Monday last week, just got to him on Monday for legal advice.

Malami made this known while appearing on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television which our correspondents monitored on Monday.

Buhari had withheld assent to the first version of the bill last year after consulting the Malami and the Independent National Electoral Commission, among others, on the bill.

When asked if he was satisfied with the amendments made to the bill by the National Assembly after Buhari sent it back to the parliament, Malami said, “In terms of satisfaction, honestly, it is premature for me to conclude, taking into consideration (that) I can admit to you that the electoral bill was only received in my office this afternoon as I was preparing to come over for this engagement with Channels TV.

I am working for advancement of democracy, Malami insists

“So, I have not taken steps to review the content and context of what has been presented for consideration for the President. So, it is premature and pre-emptive for me at this moment, now to arrive at any conclusion, taking into consideration that I have not gone through the document to understand what it contains and then analyse the same in accordance with the constitution and the prevailing laws.”

When asked if he loved democracy and wanted the advancement of the same, being someone who had been involved in political party activities, the minister interjected, “I am working for the advancement of democracy and the democratic system.”

Responding to a question on if he was willing to assist Buhari to pass what the President said he wanted to leave behind as a legacy of good elections for Nigeria; and if the bill might get passed by Buhari, the minister said, “Honestly, without going through or reading through, I am not in a position to assess whether the bill, indeed, has factored the national and public interest, as against selfish interest, among others; whether it is a bill that can stand the test of constitutionality and legality.”

When asked if he would advise the President to reject the amended bill if he was not satisfied with the new version, Malami said, “Certainly, if I am not satisfied and if I am of the opinion that it is against the public interest, the national interest; and then against the dictates of democratic process, I would advise accordingly.”

He added, “But then, one thing I can tell you is that we are all interested in leaving behind a legacy of a lasting democracy; a democracy that indeed accommodates the collective interest of the Nigerian state, and eventually advances the national interest, national development and deepens the democratic process.

“So, with these considerations associated with deepening democracy; with the considerations associated with the national and public interest, we will certainly do whatever it takes to move democracy to the next level.”

When asked to express to Nigerians, his commitment to deepening democracy in Nigeria, the minister stated that his office is a constitutional one, which is fundamentally governed by public interest. “And when we are talking of the public interest, I am talking of the interest of 200 million Nigerians. I will be guided at all times by my oath of office associated with public interest, exclusive of the sentiments or the feelings,” he added.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives had reworked the electoral bill for the second time by concurring on consensus candidacy and setting fresh conditions for political parties in the nomination of candidates for elections.

The President had last year vetoed the electoral bill and sent it back to the National Assembly over the restriction of political parties to direct primary, insisting on the direct or indirect.

Responding to a question on if he was willing to assist Buhari to pass what the President said he wanted to leave behind as a legacy of good elections for Nigeria; and if the bill might get passed by Buhari, the minister said, “Honestly, without going through or reading through, I am not in a position to assess whether the bill, indeed, has factored the national and public interest, as against selfish interest, among others; whether it is a bill that can stand the test of constitutionality and legality.”

I will advise Buhari not to sign bill if it is against dictates of democracy – AGF

When asked if he would advise the President to reject the amended bill if he was not satisfied with the new version, Malami said, “Certainly, if I am not satisfied and if I am of the opinion that it is against the public interest, the national interest; and then against the dictates of democratic process, I would advise accordingly.”

He added, “But then, one thing I can tell you is that we are all interested in leaving behind a legacy of a lasting democracy; a democracy that indeed accommodates the collective interest of the Nigerian state, and eventually advances the national interest, national development and deepens the democratic process.

“So, with these considerations associated with deepening democracy; with the considerations associated with the national and public interest, we will certainly do whatever it takes to move democracy to the next level.”

When asked to express to Nigerians, his commitment to deepening democracy in Nigeria, the minister stated that his office is a constitutional one, which is fundamentally governed by public interest. “And when we are talking of the public interest, I am talking of the interest of 200 million Nigerians. I will be guided at all times by my oath of office associated with public interest, exclusive of the sentiments or the feelings,” he added.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives had reworked the electoral bill for the second time by concurring on consensus candidacy and setting fresh conditions for political parties in the nomination of candidates for elections.

The President had last year vetoed the electoral bill and sent it back to the National Assembly over the restriction of political parties to direct primary, insisting on the direct or indirect.

The House had amended Clause Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010, which is Clause 84 of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, by inserting the indirect primary option.

The Senate, however, not only added indirect primary but also consensus adoption of candidates for elections by a political party.

By passing different amendments to the bill, the Senate and the House were expected to refer the versions to a conference committee to harmonise the differences and report back for final passage and transmission to the President for assent.

However, both the Senate and the House of Representatives, last week, took a shorter route by rescinding their decisions on the amendments last week and re-amending the electoral bill.

This time, the House concurred with the Senate on the consensus, while both chambers passed the same conditions set for the option.

 The President had said in his interview with Channels TV on January 5, 2022 that he would sign the bill once the mandatory direct primary clause was removed.

He said, “All I said was that there should be options. We must not insist that it should be direct (primary); there should also be consensus and indirect (primary options) and if they do that, I will sign. I will sign. All I would like is that there should be options. Allow them (political parties) to have other options.”

AGF speaks  on TI  Hushpuppi, CP Abba Kyari’s trials in US, Magu, Babachir

Meanwhile, the AGF also dismissed the recent Corruption Perception Index released by the global anti-corruption campaign organisation, Transparency International, which rated Nigeria as the second most corrupt country in West Africa, after Guinea and 154th out of 180 countries ranked globally.

According to Malami, the regime led by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has been rated highly by global bodies over its anti-corruption drive.

The minister also refused to speak more on the trial of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawan, over alleged corruption, stating that it is a judicial affair.

Buhari won’t sign Electoral Bill if amended for selfish interest – Malami

Leke Baiyewu and Tunde Ajaja8 February 2022Kindly share this story:

Abubakar Malami

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has hinted that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), may withhold assent from the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill if it is considered to have proposals based on personal interests.

According to the minister, the bill, which the National Assembly transmitted to the Presidency the second time on Monday last week, just got to him on Monday for legal advice.

Malami made this known while appearing on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television which our correspondents monitored on Monday.

Buhari had withheld assent to the first version of the bill last year after consulting the Malami and the Independent National Electoral Commission, among others, on the bill.

When asked if he was satisfied with the amendments made to the bill by the National Assembly after Buhari sent it back to the parliament, Malami said, “In terms of satisfaction, honestly, it is premature for me to conclude, taking into consideration (that) I can admit to you that the electoral bill was only received in my office this afternoon as I was preparing to come over for this engagement with Channels TV.

I am working for advancement of democracy, Malami insists

“So, I have not taken steps to review the content and context of what has been presented for consideration for the President. So, it is premature and pre-emptive for me at this moment, now to arrive at any conclusion, taking into consideration that I have not gone through the document to understand what it contains and then analyse the same in accordance with the constitution and the prevailing laws.”

When asked if he loved democracy and wanted the advancement of the same, being someone who had been involved in political party activities, the minister interjected, “I am working for the advancement of democracy and the democratic system.”

Responding to a question on if he was willing to assist Buhari to pass what the President said he wanted to leave behind as a legacy of good elections for Nigeria; and if the bill might get passed by Buhari, the minister said, “Honestly, without going through or reading through, I am not in a position to assess whether the bill, indeed, has factored the national and public interest, as against selfish interest, among others; whether it is a bill that can stand the test of constitutionality and legality.”

I will advise Buhari not to sign bill if it is against dictates of democracy – AGF

When asked if he would advise the President to reject the amended bill if he was not satisfied with the new version, Malami said, “Certainly, if I am not satisfied and if I am of the opinion that it is against the public interest, the national interest; and then against the dictates of democratic process, I would advise accordingly.”

He added, “But then, one thing I can tell you is that we are all interested in leaving behind a legacy of a lasting democracy; a democracy that indeed accommodates the collective interest of the Nigerian state, and eventually advances the national interest, national development and deepens the democratic process.

“So, with these considerations associated with deepening democracy; with the considerations associated with the national and public interest, we will certainly do whatever it takes to move democracy to the next level.”

When asked to express to Nigerians, his commitment to deepening democracy in Nigeria, the minister stated that his office is a constitutional one, which is fundamentally governed by public interest. “And when we are talking of the public interest, I am talking of the interest of 200 million Nigerians. I will be guided at all times by my oath of office associated with public interest, exclusive of the sentiments or the feelings,” he added.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives had reworked the electoral bill for the second time by concurring on consensus candidacy and setting fresh conditions for political parties in the nomination of candidates for elections.

The House had amended Clause Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010, which is Clause 84 of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, by inserting the indirect primary option.

The Senate, however, not only added indirect primary but also consensus adoption of candidates for elections by a political party.

By passing different amendments to the bill, the Senate and the House were expected to refer the versions to a conference committee to harmonise the differences and report back for final passage and transmission to the President for assent.

However, both the Senate and the House of Representatives, last week, took a shorter route by rescinding their decisions on the amendments last week and re-amending the electoral bill.

This time, the House concurred with the Senate on the consensus, while both chambers passed the same conditions set for the option.

 The President had said in his interview with Channels TV on January 5, 2022 that he would sign the bill once the mandatory direct primary clause was removed.

He said, “All I said was that there should be options. We must not insist that it should be direct (primary); there should also be consensus and indirect (primary options) and if they do that, I will sign. I will sign. All I would like is that there should be options. Allow them (political parties) to have other options.”

AGF speaks  on TI  Hushpuppi, CP Abba Kyari’s trials in US, Magu, Babachir

Meanwhile, the AGF also dismissed the recent Corruption Perception Index released by the global anti-corruption campaign organisation, Transparency International, which rated Nigeria as the second most corrupt country in West Africa, after Guinea and 154th out of 180 countries ranked globally.

According to Malami, the regime led by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has been rated highly by global bodies over its anti-corruption drive.

The minister also refused to speak more on the trial of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawan, over alleged corruption, stating that it is a judicial affair.

Osinbajo justifies electoral bill delayIgboho’s continued detention, miscarriage of justice –Gani AdamsElectoral bill: How NASS barked, failed to bite

The AGF also avoided giving full details on the indictment and the possibility of prosecuting a former Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.

Malami also described the trial of a Dubai-based Instagram sensation, Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi, in the United States of America over alleged Internet fraud as an international affair.

The AGF also said the American Government and the Nigerian Government are discussing the possible extradition of the suspended Head of the Intelligence Response Team of the Nigeria Police Force, DCP Abba Kyari, for his alleged role in a $1m scam allegedly perpetrated by Hushpuppi and five others.

They minister also said reasonable grounds for suspicion have been established against Kyari.

Leave a Response