lSay document imperfect
lPDP BoT chairman urges NASS to override President
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—All Progressives Congress, APC, caucus in the House of Representatives, yesterday, pitched their tent with President Muhammadu Buhari on his refusal to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, describing the legislation as imperfect.
This is even as chairman of the Board of Trustees, BoT, of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,Senator Walid Jibril, insisted, yesterday, that the National Assembly must override the President’s veto and pass the amendments of the Electoral Act into law.
However, leader of APC caucus, Femi Gbajabiamila, who made the declaration after an emergency meeting in Abuja, said signing the bill as currently amended without an alternative provision for manual accreditation of voters, other than electronic method, would lead to the disenfranchisement of millions of Nigerians during elections.
He said the situation was witnessed in 2015 when even the sitting president had difficulties getting accredited, adding that constitutionally, the president was not compelled to give reasons for declining assent to any piece of legislation.
Gbajabiamila, who noted that President Buhari had been kind enough to state his reasons for withholding his assent, said: “It was one or two-point agenda meeting. What is on the front and centre right now in our discourse is the electoral amendment bill, which the president has not signed and there are calls for us to veto it.
‘’Perhaps, a lot of people don’t understand the import and the implications of signing an imperfect document. The document is imperfect and you can read it or interpret it any how and if count was removed when it should’ve been there, then you can’t even override that imperfect document.
‘’You have to first amend that document and start the process all over again and then send it back to Mr. President.
“On this particular one, I believe the thrust and spirit and 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 you can only accredit voters through electronic system, it forecloses manual accreditation.
“We’re all witnesses to what happened in the last election where even the sitting President couldn’t be accredited.
“So, what Mr. President 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.”
PDP BoT chair urges NASS to override President
Meanwhile, Senator Walid Jibril, Chairman Board of Trustees, BoT, of PDP, has urged the National Assembly to override President Buhari’s veto and pass the amendments of the Electoral Act into law.
Walid, who spoke with newsmen in Lafia, Nasarawa State, said the continuous refusal of the president to assent to the amended Electoral Act was no longer acceptable, given its significance to ensuring credible elections in 2019.
According to him, the responsibility of salvaging the nation from the present predicament and delivering credible polls in 2019 rests with the National Assembly.
“The National Assembly has the right by law to override the President. Therefore, they should exercise their right without being told, to guarantee free, fair and credible elections in 2019. It is only signing the amended Electoral Act into law that would give legal backing to the use of card readers,” Walid said.