…Wants Electoral Act Amendment Bill returned to NASS within two weeks
By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA – As Nigerians mark the first anniversary of the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day, the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has taken a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari, saying all the virtues that the June 12 symbolise in the life of the nation have been eroded by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The party stated this on Thursday in Abuja at a world press conference addressed by the PDP national publicity secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan.
The party noted that though the symbol of June 12, 1993, Presidential election, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola lived and died for “credible electoral process, respect for rule of law, regard for constitutional separation of power and unity, national cohesion and sensibility of Nigerians,” among others, same “have been violated by the Buhari Presidency and the APC.”
The text of the conference read in part: “At the foundation of every genuine democracy is a credible electoral process. Painfully, the Buhari Presidency and the APC have continued to suppress every genuine effort for reforms that will improve our electoral processes.
“It is instructive to note that President Buhari and APC came to power in 2015 as a result of electoral reform carried out by PDP administration.
“Sadly, Mr. President has frustrated every move to ensure more credible election, particularly by refusing to sign the Electoral Act Amendment bill sent to him by the NASS.
“In the last five years, our democracy has been under siege and witnessed the worst forms of violations in our political history.”
The party listed some of the alleged ills of the Buhari-led government to include “electoral malpractices, nepotism in appointments, political intolerance, violation of constitutional provisions, financial recklessness and disobedience of court orders,” among others.
It called on the President to use the last three years of his final tenure in office to restore the credibility of elections in the country.
“Our party, therefore, demands that President Buhari speaks to the issue of amendment to the Electoral Act in his June 12 address and to within the next 14 days, initiate the process of returning the Electoral Act Amendment Bill to the National Assembly, with a strong commitment to sign it into law immediately it is passed by the legislature.
“Our party holds that it behoves on President Buhari to initiate an electoral reform process immediately, even if that will be the only legacy that posterity will record for him in his 8 years in office.
“Any failure to initiate an electoral reform will amount to a deliberate plot by the APC to kill our hard-earned democracy and return our nation to a state of nature where the will of any individual, supported by bandits and vagabonds will become the norm.
“President Buhari should also take steps to end the nepotism and divisive body language associated with his administration.
“He should also take further steps to end the constitutional violations, abuse of human rights, political intolerance, harassment of opposition and dissenting voices associated with his administration.
“Furthermore, Mr. President’s June 12 address should speak to the rejigging of our nation’s security architecture as well as more decisive steps that will be taken by his administration to save Nigerians from untimely and sudden gruesome deaths in the hands of bandits and insurgents,” Ologbondiyan added.
It would be recalled that the Electoral Act Amendment Bill was passed by the 8th National Assembly but was not signed by President Buhari who argued that the time was too close to the 2019 general elections.