Former Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki has charged the National Assembly to act fast on the concerns raised by President Muhammadu Buhari while declining to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
Saraki, who stressed that the federal lawmakers do not have the option of not acting on the president’s concerns about the bill, said they can either veto the president on the bill or remove the contentious provision on direct primaries and send it back to him.
While reacting to Buhari’s decision to decline assent to the Electoral Act Bill, Saraki said millions of Nigerians are desirous of seeing the National Assembly act fast on the matter. He added that the lawmakers cannot allow one contentious clause to throw away all the positives in the proposed Electoral Act [amendment] Bill.
“At this point, two options are open to the National Assembly.
They either veto the president’s decline of assent or remove the contentious provision on direct primaries and send it back to the president for his assent.
“Whichever option our legislators choose, can be accomplished in the shortest possible time. We could have a new electoral law in January 2022.
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“Anyone that has been following the mood of the nation knows that Nigerians desire to have a new electoral law that will lead to having a credible, free, fair, and peaceful process of electing our leaders.
He said Nigerians want a system that will ensure that their votes really count in the election of those who govern them.
“This is why, as the representatives of the Nigerian people, the National Assembly must take a decision in the interest of our nation and its long-term democracy. The option of not doing anything after the refusal of the assent by the President is not an option.
“This proposed electoral law is expected to reassure the youths, many of whom steer clear of the political process because they have no confidence in the system. They believe the system is usually rigged and compromised. One way to bring this active demography into the political system is to enact a new law that will give them hope in our nation. This Electoral Act [Amendment] Bill serves that purpose.
“Our legislators in both chambers of the National Assembly and Mr. President must ensure that it becomes a law without delay,” he said.