FOLLOWING the transmission of the re-amended 2010 Electoral Act ( Amendment ) Bill to President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Assembly Caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday called on the President to urgently sign it into law.
According to the caucus, President Buhari will not have any reason not to assent to the bill after all he wanted had been done and sent to him.
The PDP caucus in the National Assembly spoke yesterday when members of the Board of Trustees, BoT, led by the Chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin, held a meeting with the members in Abuja.
The caucus also took a swipe at the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, saying since its inception in February 2013, it had not been able to constitute its membership of Board of Trustees, BoT.
It added that the legacy left behind by the PDP remained what Nigerians were enjoying today.
The caucus also lampooned the APC for setting up a 133-member campaign committee, inclusive of 16 serving governors, for the forthcoming area council election in FCT when it should have used the persons to put its house in order.
First to make the call in his opening remarks was the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, PDP, Abia South, who said having bent backwards as requested by President Muhammadu Buhari on the earlier rejected the electoral bill, the bill should be signed without any delay. Abaribe said: “The President in rejecting the earlier one transmitted to him in November last year, said indirect and consensus mode of primary elections should be added to the new one requested by President Buhari.
“Now that we have bent backwards, no excuse or reason should be given again. Provisions of the bill are very critical for expected credibility of the 2023 general elections.”
Also taking on the President on the need to quickly sign the bill into law was the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, who alleged that governors on the platform of the APC were lobbying the President not to sign the bill.
He said, “The plan of using mandatory direct primaries to scuttle the bill has failed because the National Assembly has widened the scope as requested by the President.
“No other unresolved issue or observation is left in the bill transmitted to the President on Monday this week. No more excuses, no more delay, it should be signed in the interest of credibility and sanctity of electoral process in the country.”
Elumelu, who further attacked the ruling party for constituting a 133-member campaign council for the forthcoming area councils election in FCT, said rather than APC focusing on how to hold its severally postponed national convention, it was using a hammer to kill an ant by enlisting 16 serving governors, 12 serving ministers and a countless number of other public office holders at the federal level to militarize the area council election in FCT.
“This to us in PDP is laughable because throughout the 16 years we were in power at the centre, there was no time such a busy body campaign council was set up for FCT Area Council election.
“Unfortunately for APC, the 133-member campaign council it set up cannot deliver FCT for it because there is no way aliens or strangers in any place will displace landlords,’’ he said.
The Clerk to the National Assembly, Olatunde Amos Ojo, had on Monday transmitted the authenticated copies of the Electoral Bill 2022 to President Buhari for assent.
This was done in accordance with the provisions of Section 58 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and the Acts Authentication Act Cap. A2 LFN 2004.
The President had withheld assent to the Electoral Bill 2021 transmitted to him on November 19, 2021.
The Electoral Bill was, thereafter, reworked by the National Assembly and both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed same on January 25, 2022.