CONTINUOUS REJECTION OF THE 2018 AMENDED ELECTORAL BILL: AN ATTEMPT BY PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI TO FRAUDULENTLY BENEFIT FROM A FLAWED ELECTORAL SYSTEM IN 2019.
1. The latest decline of President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the 2018 Amended Electoral Bill is an indictment on the APC led administration to conduct a free, fair and credible polls come 2019. Sad however, is the high level display of hypocrisy by a government professing commitment to a transparent and non violent elections come 2019, yet promoting actions capable of setting the country ablaze.
2. We recall that this is the fourth time Mr. President is withholding assent to this Amended Electoral Bill upon flimsy excuses that it will cause uncertainty and crisis even after all concerns previously raised by him have been adequately addressed by the National Assembly. This to us is the height of executive rascality and power arrogance, which are traits only found in anti-progressive elements and enemies of democracy.
3. The process of electoral amendments in Nigeria almost every penultimate year to a general election is not a new phenomenon having done same in 2010 and 2015 respectively, which ultimately led us to a point where innovations such as the card reader was introduced in 2015 to further strengthen the electoral process. We now find it difficult to fathom how a major beneficiary of previous amendments has suddenly turned himself into a clog in the wheel of progress of our democracy.
4. Democracy all over the world evolves and if we all agree that our electoral process is anything but perfect then conscious efforts in strengthening same in this part of the world should be supported and not hindered especially on the strength of some identified flaws in the 2015 Electoral Act now amended appropriately in the 2018 Electoral Bill, which has now been rejected by President Muhammadu Buhari and his team of unpatriotic advisers. Any law that gives legitimate backing to the use of card readers, support the electronic transmission of results from the polling units, eliminate the use of incidence forms and bring more sanity to the electoral process should be supported and not suffocated on the altar of selfish ambition.
5. We hereby call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately reverse his stance and sign the 2018 Electoral Bill as amended as his continuous refusal not to sign same portends even greater danger for the nation considering the general held belief by majority of Nigerians that his underperforming party, the APC is planning to fraudulently benefit from a flawed electoral system that cannot guarantee a free, fair and credible polls come 2019.
6. We also implore well meaning civil society groups, the media, international community and all relevant stakeholders to condemn this tyranny and help salvage the country from desperate anti-democratic forces determined to hold on to power by all means when it is crystal clear even to the blind that they have been rejected by the people. The President has gotten away with many acts of impunity in the past, he should not be allowed to get away with this latest action without resistance from true lovers of democracy.
7. Conclusively, desperate times calls for desperate measures and having been boxed to a corner by Mr. President and his team of unpatriotic advisers, the onus is now on members of the National Assembly to as a matter of National urgency invoke the provisions of Section 58, sub-section (5) of the 1999 Constitution, (as amended) which empowers her to override the President’s veto by two-third majority. The time for the National Assembly to act on behalf of the people is now and swift actions should be taken without further delay in the overall interest of the nation as the misguided will of one man cannot be stronger than the collective resolute will of a nation.
Comrade Egbeola Olawale Martins
National Publicity Secretary.