A political support group, Got Your Back Nigera, has added its voice to support of President Muhammadu Buhari in rejecting the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021 forwarded to him by the National Assembly.
National co-ordinator of the group, Prof. Chris Mustapha Nwaokobia Jnr, stated this in a press statement on Friday.
Prof Nwaokobia Jnr said Nigerians should rather push the National Assembly to speedily rework the Bill, and cut Mr President some slack, because he scored the bull’s sye in his letter to the lawmakers.
“The National Assembly should humbly and speedily rework the Bill and save the polity the present a’lanta dance.
“Cut Mr. President some slack, Dudes,” Prof Nwaokobia Jr said in the statement.
He noted that he had patiently followed the raging debate on Mr President’s refusal to sign the Electoral Bill into law, wondering why conspiracy theorists will ignore the 18-paragraph “unassailable reasons” adduced by President Buhari.
He accused those ignoring the President’s reasons of being “emotive, emotional and partisan than logical.”
“Is it possible to rework the Bill in record time and represent it to Mr President for signing without prescribing Direct Primaries in mandatory terms? Is it possible to leave the issues of Primaries to the Parties and not dictate to Parties (which apparently is undemocratic) how their candidates emerge? And is it possible to leave the Parties to choose whether to produce their candidates through Primaries that are Direct, Indirect or by way of Consensus (which are elective protocols in democracy)? If the answer is YES, then why the hoopla?
“What Senior Lawyers, Rights Activists, Partisans and Electoral Reform doyens should and must do is to challenge political parties to internal reforms and not support the prescription by Law of Direct Primaries, you cannot dictate by Law how a Party chooses her candidate, democracy ceases to be where the power of choice is circumscribed, so I am on fours with Mr President on that.
“Some have argued that the Bill is so important that the issues of cost, security, logistics and what have you should not matter. Hmmm, how more emotive and emotional can we be?
“On the one hand we are complaining that the over 300b naira projected for the next general election may be too much burden, and on the other hand we are saying that it wouldn’t matter if we deploy such in supervising party primaries, haba, who did this to us? INEC has less than 20000 staff across the country, and INEC as prescribed by Law must monitor the Primaries of political parties. Do you know that to monitor the Direct Primaries of the APC or the PDP INEC will require at least 168,000 staff each? Who will fund it? Where will the funds come from? Must we in trying to exorcise a demon enthrone ten? We must and should challenge political parties to handle their primaries with the highest level of decorum and not decree by law whether it must be Direct, Indirect or by consensus.
“On security, no matter how internal or otherwise Party Primaries are, we shall be hiding behind one finger if we argue that it will not pose serious security challenge, particularly now that our Security Agencies are stretched on all fronts because of the present state of National Security. So before we criticize and cry blue murder, let us benchmark our position with patriotism. The President was completely right in calling for the rework of the Bill on grounds of legality, cost. Security and democracy. And the call must be to NASS to do what is right.
“Finally, to those who have argued that Mr President has declined accent to the Electoral Bill five times before, there were indeed different reasons for that. Interestingly our President has reiterated his willingness to quit power after the mandatory two terms which expires in 2023. He has also sworn to bequeath to Nigeria a new regime of electoral fairness and transparency, in the last Edo and Anambra elections even his fiercest critics were amazed that he did not push a Partisan position. And lastly, Mr President was clear enough in saying why he didn’t assent to the present Bill, we must therefore urge and nudge the National Assembly NASS to rework the Electoral Bill and represent same to Mr President in record time for assent.
“To this end, I maintain without an ounce of equivocation, we must cut the President, some slack, and commend his didactic position on the Electoral Bill,” Nwaokobia stated.