Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki has urged the National Assembly to take urgent action on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill which President Muhammadu Buhari failed to assent to, saying the lawmakers cannot choose to sit on the fence on the very important issue.
The President had withheld assent to the bill in a letter which was sent to both chambers of the National Assembly.
In the letter, the President said he would not sign the bill because of the mandatory direct primaries.
He further stated eight disadvantages of mandatory direct primaries which included legal, financial and security concerns.
In a statement he personally signed, Saraki said the National Assembly has two options which include overriding the president or removing the contentious direct primary clause and then returning the bill to the President for assent.
According to him, the other good things in the bill shouldn’t be thrown away because of the contentious direct primary clause.
He said “Now that Mr President has conveyed his decision to decline assent to the Electoral Act [amendment] Bill, I am sure that I speak on behalf of millions of Nigerians in urging the National Assembly to act fast.
“This is because we cannot sit back and 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.
“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. They want a system that will ensure that their votes truly count in the election of those who govern them.
“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.
“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.”
Source:- Independent Ng