Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has for the fourth time in a row, rejected signing the amendment made to the Electoral Act by the National Assembly.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate) Ita Enang discloses this to State House Correspondents on Friday while the Federal Executive Council (FEC) was underway.

The Presidential Aide said that Buhari had communicated his decision on the Electoral Act to the National Assembly.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has taken decision on Electoral Act Amendment bill 2018 in accordance with the power vested on him by the 1999 Constitution and has communicated the decision to the Senate and House of Representatives in accordance with the law.”

“The president has taken a decision in a accordance with the powers vested in him by the constitution. And by convention that decision can only be revealed by the person(s) to whom it is addressed. But the electoral bill has left (the office of) Mr. President because he has taken a decision (on it) and has remitted it back (to the National Assembly).”

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“Thank You very much but this is all (that) the law allows me to say by convention. Mr. President has sent that communication to the National Assembly.”

Enang told reporters that “it is safe to say that the President has taken (a) decision as allowed by law and has communicated that decision to the Senate and the House of Representatives.”

He noted that “the implication of that decision on the 2019 elections, is that the President has taken action on the bill within the time allowed by law.”

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But Enang had on Monday urged Nigerians to disregard rumours suggesting that President Buhari would not sign the controversial  Electoral Act 2018.

Enang had said Buhari was still operating within the time frame allowed by the Nigerian Constitution to either sign the bill or withhold his assent.

By the provision of the constitution, the president is to either sign or write to the National Assembly within 30 days with respect to the legislation transmitted to him, stating his reasons for his action.

Buhari had previously rejected the bill on three separate occasions, the last time being on August 30, when he returned it to the National Assembly.

The lawmakers had amended the areas the president raised objections and on November 7, returned the document to him for his assent.

Meanwhile, President Buhari has signed the amendment made to the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) Act. With this development, NOUN will now begin to operate like every other conventional university.

Enang said: “President Buhari has assented to (the) National Open University Amendment Act, which allows the National Open University to operate like all other universities, having the same power and functions and the same administrative structures eliminating possible discrimination since some people use to reject its products and programmes.

“That has also allowed the establishment of some centres to be called Study Centers and given conditions for the establishment of such study centres.”

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