Worries over Buhari’s decline to sign electoral bill

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President Muhammadu Buhari PHOTO: BAYO OMOBORIOWO

Opposition parties have expressed the fear that that the coming 2019 general elections may not be free, fair and credible as expected due to the persistent refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018.

In separate reactions yesterday, national chairman of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Chief Ralph Nwosu and National Conscience Party (NCP), Dr. Tanko Yususf said the adamant position of the president over assenting to the bill could crate problems for the election.

While ADC tasked the National Assembly to be more proactive and do everything possible to educate Nigerians about the bill, NCP alleged that the development was deliberate by the ruling party to frustrate free, fair and credible polls in 2019.

According to Nwosu, “I want to task the National Assembly members to realise that it is the legislative arm that makes law and the onus is on it to ensure that Nigerians are well educated on the bill and to also say in clear terms why the presidency has declined to assent it.

“I would have expected our lawmakers to go back to their various constituencies across the country and enlighten their people instead of staying in Abuja or traveling abroad as some of them are currently doing.”

Nwosu said the legislative arm of government has been subjected to the most vicious suppression under the Buhari-led government.

NCP said Buhari’s position on the mater was a trait of dictatorship and also indicated desperation to retain power at all costs next year.

According Yusuf, “We are just an inch away from dictatorship if the electoral bill is truncated for usage in the coming general polls.”

Meanwhile, a member of the 2014 national conference, Col. Tony Nyiam (rtd) warned President Buhari not to allow his aides push him against what the constitution stipulates.”

Nyiam lamented that the aides surrounding the president are taking advantage of the fact that he (Buhari) is not very conversant with the issue more importantly at this critical period where general election is less than a year.

He however urged the presidency to urgently assent to the bill.

Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Aborisade, said putting recent events surrounding the presidency, its utterances and body language into consideration, one could be tempted to conclude that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), which has clearly lost any significant social base of support, would want to sustain itself in power and or gain access to power where the other is in control at all costs next year.

Spokesman of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said Buhari’s refusal to assent to the electoral bill was part of the desperation Nigerians should watch out for ahead of the 2019 election.

He said Nigerians should prepare for the worst if the next election, particularly the presidential poll favours the ruling party.

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