President Muhammadu Buhari (image courtesy Presidency)

The Presidency says President Muhammadu Buhari is not in confrontation with the National Assembly over his refusal to sign the amended Electoral Act Bill.

It also added that Buhari was also not against the use of card readers in the forthcoming elections.

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One of the President’s media aides Malam Garba Shehu said the decision to decline assent to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018 had no connection with the use of card readers.

Shehu, therefore, dismissed the allegations of opposition politicians, as well as some newspaper editorial opinions creating the impression that the President was against e-voting and the use of card readers in the 2019 elections.

“We wish to state in clear and unambiguous terms that the issue of e-voting and use of card readers was NEVER an issue for the President’s decision to decline assent to the Bill,” he said in statement on Sunday.

“It is equally important that this issue was not raised either by the Executive or the Legislature in the recent reviews.

“Moreover, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) adoption of e-voting reforms is enshrined in the 2015 Amendment Act to the Electoral Reform Act. Card reader is therefore a settled matter.’’

He further maintained that “regrettably, purveyors of ‘fake news’ have been quick to churn out sensational headlines such as that of a leading newspaper, which screamed: “Card Reader in Jeopardy, Buhari Rejects Electoral Act Amendment Bill Again.”

“Unfortunately, most of the critics of the President, including the editorial of a national daily this morning (Sunday), read out parts of the letters, as made available by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, detailing the issues that were of concern to the government.

“An issue has been raised by the President concerning some ill-prepared and flawed parts of the bill for which corrections needed to be made to allow for his signature.’’

The presidential spokesman added that the President wanted engagement with the parliament for the corrections to be effected so that, at the end of the day, “both arms of government will be happy with the fact that we have a good electoral law in place.

“The President is not in confrontation with the parliament on this issue. He has asked his officials to dialogue with the legislature for the corrections to be effected.

“As for his alleged rejection of the card reader, nothing can be farther from the truth.’’