President Muhammadu Buhari’s claim that Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 will disenfranchise serving political office holders is selfish and not altruistic, according to Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
If President Buhari truly believes in transparent elections and that everyone should have a level playing field, the governor claims, he will not propose amending the section that he claims will disenfranchise serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at political party conventions or congresses.
This was said by Governor Wike in Port Harcourt on Friday in response to President Buhari’s approval to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
He cited the President’s claim that Section 84 (12) of the 1999 Constitution is unconstitutional.
“Mr President has told the world he is trying to protect some of his appointees who want to run election, and who are afraid of leaving office knowing fully well that having left the office it would be difficult for them to assert or to influence the outcome of party primaries. If Mr President really believes in free, fair and transparent election, and for everybody to have a level playing ground, Mr President will not call for such amendment,” Wike said.
Governor Wike stated that President Buhari was hesitant to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law, but was forced to do so due to public pressure.
If the President had refused to sign the bill, he claimed, the National Assembly would have been embarrassed and lost popular trust.
“For whatever it is worth, let us say Nigerians are happy that after all said and done, the President and the APC administration for the first time have bowed to pressure of Nigerians in order to have a law that enables our electoral process to be transparent. But again, this tells you the kind of party in power,” he said.
President Buhari’s delay in assenting to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, according to the Rivers State governor, has created unneeded emotions and tensions in the polity, especially because Nigerians and those he claims will be disenfranchised have not protested about the Bill’s provisions.
President Buhari, according to Governor Wike, should allow ministers, commissioners, and special advisors who believe the provisions of the Electoral Act will harm them to go to court and dispute them.
“Mr President knows the function of the legislature is to make laws. The function of the executive is to implement the law, and the function of the judiciary is to interpret the law. Now Mr. President is not only doing the work of the executive, he has also delved into the work of the judiciary of interpreting the law, knowing where there is conflict. I wonder why Mr President didn’t know when he appended his signature to the Police Trust Fund, that was in conflict with the provision of the Constitution.”
One notable feature of the Electoral Act, according to Governor Wike, is that it will minimise security agents’ role in the hijacking of ballot boxes and results.
He added that the new rule will keep public officials running for re-election on their toes because their political fate will be decided completely by the electorate based on their performance.
Governor Wike applauded the National Assembly for giving the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the authority to electronically submit election results and reject those issued under duress.
“Electronic transmission of results will give confidence to the people, to the electorate and anybody who is elected will now sit up to say it is not going to be business as usual.”
𝑳𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒑𝒐𝒔𝒕?
𝑾𝒆’𝒅 𝒃𝒆 𝒅𝒆𝒍𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒓 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝒚𝒐𝒖. 𝑷𝒍𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒆 𝒍𝒆𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒂 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒃𝒐𝒙 𝒃𝒆𝒍𝒐𝒘!