Why Buhari must avoid the conspiracy of power interests – IPAC – Blueprint Newspapers Limited

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The leadership of the Inter-Party Consultative Council (IPAC) on Wednesday expressed concern over the continued delay in assent to the Electoral Law Amendment Bill 2010 of 2021, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to do the necessary and approve the reworked bill.

According to IPAC, some forces currently holding political office, in league with others with common interests against the bill, have since engaged in overt and covert activities aimed at preventing the bill from becoming law. .

In a statement by its national chairman, engineer Yabagi Yusuf Sani, IPAC said that if opponents of the bill were successful in convincing the president, “the implication is that none of its series of directives and provisions innovations will be applied by INEC in the conduct of the 2023 elections.

“Like most enlightened Nigerians, we at IPAC expected that following the President’s denial of assent when the bill was first passed to him by lawmakers, the version reworked submitted subsequently would have been such that possible areas of conflict would have been avoided.

“However, federal lawmakers, in their wisdom, have decided to introduce new clauses among which is one that requires named political office holders who are interested in contesting elected office to resign before doing so. Predictably, the bill has generated a new round of controversy with vituperation from interest groups who perceive the clause as aimed at them.

“The greatest fear of Nigerians and those of us at IPAC is that in the event of such a scenario, the widely hailed Biometric Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and electronic transmission of results as well than other cardinal elements of the bill, will not be mandatory for use by INEC in elections,” the group said.

He urged President Buhari not to throw out the wheat with the chaff, which would be the case if the electoral law, due to some of its clauses, was thrown out in its entirety.

The statement further stated, “IAPC leadership is loath to adhere to the view held in many quarters that all of the controversies over the Election Bill may have been a deliberate and conscious conspiracy of the interests of power in within the executive and the legislature who are opposed to positive changes that prevent them from continuing their old game of manipulating the electoral process. If so, then all democrats and patriotic Nigerians have a duty to stand up against these retrograde forces, who are bent on stunting the progress of our hard-won democracy.

“IPAC urges President Muhammadu Buhari to go ahead and give his assent to the Bill as it is currently forwarded by the National Assembly. This will demonstrate his avowed commitment to bequeath a culture of elections transparent and credible in the country.

“The bill can then be reconsidered and amended again if compelling reasons arise to do so before or after the 2023 election.”

CSOs

In a similar reaction, the Founder and Chief Executive of the Albino Foundation, Mr. Jake Epelle, called on the President to approve the re-amended electoral bill on his desk and save the fledgling democracy that Nigeria is struggling to sustain. flow.

He said it is the most inclusive electoral bill that allows for the inclusion of persons with disabilities (PD), women and youth in general elections.

Jake said there are many issues at stake and the people represented by the president and other politicians want a reformed electoral process.

“This is another opportunity for the president to write his name clearly on the golden table of democracy,” he said.

Furthermore, the Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) and Transparency International, Nigeria, Auwal Rafsanjani said that the President has made the commitment to the nation and he should not lose a day to sign the bill.

“He should also be aware that there are implications for delaying the re-amended bill which will obviously affect the 2023 general election.

“It’s a test of integrity and we don’t expect him to lose a day. He should stick to his words otherwise Nigerians will have a problem with this.

“We hope he will move the bill forward quickly to also enable INEC to prepare adequately ahead of the next general election. Without the bill, INEC will be constrained.

“And the only way to ensure free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria is to put in place a proper legal framework in this regard,” he said.

Furthermore, the executive director of the Youth Initiative for Credible Leadership, Comrade Abdulawahab Ekekhide, said that the approval of the bill would enhance the credibility of the electoral process.

“I think Nigerians are looking for the electronic transmission of results in the general elections when the bill is passed. President Buhari has no reason not to endorse the bill as the bill will deepen the electoral processes,” he said.

Furthermore, Jaiye Gaskia, leader of the Take Back Nigeria movement and co-leader of the Say No campaign, said that “time is running out, and time is running out indeed for the electoral act.”

“Anything after late February or early March to enact the bill into law either by presidential assent or overriding the presidential veto will be virtually too late for the 2023 election.

“We are signatories to the ECOWAS and AU conventions which more or less prohibit the modification of electoral laws six months or less before the general elections.

“It is important that the President give the highest priority to the bill sent to him and announce his decision immediately, without further delay.

“And if the National Assembly is really serious about giving the country a proper new electoral law, and in time, then it should be prepared to immediately overrule any potential presidential veto as soon as such a veto is announced.

“At the end of the day, we either have a new electoral law by March of this year or we forget about it until after the general election,” he said.

Osinbajo explains the delay

Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the Electoral Law Amendment Bill currently in the works demonstrates the current administration’s commitment to improving Nigeria’s electoral system.

Osinbajo said this Tuesday during the 53rd Conference of the National Association of Law Professors, held at Bayero University, Kano (BUK), on the theme: “Law, democracy and electoral process”.

He said, “The bill itself has been the subject of strong engagement between government and civil society. While some have expressed reservations about the time it takes to enact the new law, we must remember that a truly inclusive democratic and deliberative process often takes time.

“I am convinced that the legislation that will emerge will reflect a broad consensus among all stakeholders.”

The Vice President added that “as INEC continues to improve its ability to conduct credible elections, including through the deployment of technology; we recognize that democracy is more than voting. It is also a question of constitutionalism, the rule of law and respect for civil liberties. We must work diligently to uphold these principles.

“Our progress as a democracy must therefore also be pursued in terms of the struggle to reduce the fundamental problems of ill health, malnutrition, illiteracy and starvation which afflict our people. Where social and economic rights are not guaranteed, people are unable to fully maximize their civil and political rights.

While declaring the conference open earlier, Osinbajo noted that democracy and social justice are closely linked, adding that the cornerstone of democracy is the insistence that “our society must be governed by the state of right and not by the whim of man”.

“As law professors and legal practitioners, we are guardians of this truth. However, democracy cannot endure without social justice,” he said, noting that “the pursuit of justice is central to the pursuit of the good of society.”

He continued, “This makes the legal profession one of the cardinal vocations upon which civilization rests. Indeed, the law is an instrument of peaceful social engineering whose purpose is justice. When it is rooted in this postulate, it follows that the law, and therefore democracy, are intended to serve beneficial social ends.

On the essence of democracy and the need to preserve democratic institutions in Nigeria and other parts of Africa, the Vice President noted that although Nigeria has enjoyed 22 years of uninterrupted democracy, the country is still a young democracy.

“We have seen a series of peaceful transitions of power. This is a credit to the democratic sensibility of our people. Along the way, we learn valuable lessons that can only make us better freedom practitioners.

“Many of our institutions are still in their infancy and we need to carefully guide them to maturity. We recognize that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance,” Osinbajo added.

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