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Electoral Act: APC Reps Back PMB

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The House of Representatives All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus yesterday threw its weight behind President Muhammad Buhari’s decision to withhold assent to the Electoral Act amendment bill, describing the legislation as imperfect.

Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila made the position after an emergency meeting of the caucus.

Gbajabiamila said that the imperfections in the Electoral Act amendment bill such as the provision that accreditation of voters must be done electronically without the option of manual accreditation was the major reason why Buhari refused assenting to the bill.

He said the electronic accreditation of voters may lead to the disenfranchisement of millions of voters in the event the electronic system fails to work as occurred during the 2015 general elections.

“When a document is imperfect and you can read it or interprete it any how or if a word was removed when it should’ve been there, then you can’t override such an imperfect document unless first you amend the document.

“You’ve to start the process all over again and then send it back to Mr. President,” he declared.

The leader further said that constitutionally, the President is not obliged to give reasons for declining assent to any legislation.

“On this particular one, the thrust and spirit why the President has refused to sign which we identify with is that every vote must count in Nigeria.

“This bill that was sent to the President says that you can only accredit voters through electronic system, it forecloses manual accreditation.

“We were all witnesses to what happened in the last election where even the sitting President couldn’t be accredited.

 

“What Buhari has done is to protect everybody in Nigeria. Yes, do your electronic accreditation but make room for the possibility for manual accreditation in the event the electronic system fails,” Gbajabiamila stated.

 

The lawmaker therefore, charged the National Assembly to remove and correct all the imperfections in the amendment bill and resend it to the President for assent.

 

“So, that’s our position. A punctuation, a dot and a line can change the meaning of a provision in the law, Gbajabiamila said.

 

He expressed confidence that the opposition lacks the numbers to override the President’s veto, adding that lawmaking is about numbers and we have more than the numbers.

 

“If they (opposition) are able to muster the required two – third and they can push it, there is nothing we can do, but as a party we’re not going to be part of the two – third”.

 

 

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