President Goodluck Jonathan today signed the Electoral Act into law, thus paving way for the general elections scheduled to hold in January next year.

•President Jonathan signing the electoral bill into law this morning in Abuja. PHOTO: STATE HOUSE.

The President assented to the Electoral Act in Abuja today following the outcry by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor  Attahiru Jega, that the delay in signing the bill into law was hampering the commission’s preparations for the elections.

President Jonathan also ordered the finance minister, Olusegun Aganga to immediately release the N87.7 billion requested by INEC to conduct a free and fair election.

The president said during the signing ceremony that he will not allow his personal interest and the interest of his party, PDP, to jeopardise the 2011 elections.


The minister of finance also said at the ceremony that the process for the release of the funds requested by INEC has been completed.

The signing ceremony was attended by some members of the National Assembly.

Nigerians had condemned the delay in signing the Electoral Act into law and the failure to release the funds needed by INEC, describing it as a ploy to frustrate INEC.

The electoral Act 2010 amended 158 sections of the 2006 Electoral Act.To prevent incidents of electoral disputes getting protracted, it recommends the holding of elections in January, four months to handover to the new government. It also limits spendings by candidates for the election. Presidential candidates cannot spend more than N1 billion, while governorship candidates are not expected to spend more than N200million. Senatorial candidates are limited to N40 million, reps  and house of assemnbly members have a ceiling of N10million.

The new act also allows INEC to review voters’ register up till 60 days to the election, instead of the old provision of 120 days.

Now that the Electoral Act has been signed into law, elections will hold in January next year as stipulated by the Act.

President Jonathan also ordered the finance minister, Olusegun Aganga to immediately release the N87.7 billion requested by INEC to conduct a free and fair election.

Nigerians had condemned the delay in signing the Electoral Act into law and the failure to release the funds needed by INEC, describing it as a ploy to frustrate INEC.