By Taiye Agbaje
A teacher at University of Ibadan, Prof. Jacob Ayantayo, has expressed support to President Muhammadu Buhari for declining assent to Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018.
Ayantayo, who is a Professor of Religion, Ethics, Inter-Religious Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution and Peace-Building in the Department of Religious Studies, made his position known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Buhari had declined assent to the bill due to “some drafting issues that remain unaddressed following the prior revisions to the bill.”
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Sen. Ita Enang, announced this on Monday.
The aide said that the president had communicated his position on the bill to the Senate and the House of Representatives on Aug. 30.
The development had generated heated debate across the country in view of the 2019 general elections.
Ayantayo argued that since the Constitution allowed the president to have a review of a bill before signing. It ‘’pre-suposses that Buhari is doing the right thing.’’
‘’I think that the President is doing the right thing because it is one thing for a bill to be passed by National Assembly and it is another thing for the president to assent to it.
‘’This means that the fact that he has the final assent and the Constitution allows him to have a review and look at it thoroughly.
‘’Perhaps, because we are coming from a background in which we think that when a bill is passed, it must get presidential assent at all cost, that is why it is so surprising to us that he delays in assenting it.
‘’I think it is part of the process it needs to pass through to grow our nascent democracy,” he said.
On the implication the delay may have on the 2019 election, the don said there was an element of exaggeration in such insinuation.
‘’I believe that the president too, is equally conscious of the implication of this.
‘’All we need to do is to be patient with him or perhaps, come up with stronger argument for him to see reason why the bill must be signed,’’ he remarked.