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‘Doing Nothing Not An Option, Act Fast,’ Saraki Charges NASS On Electoral Bill

A file photo of former Senate President Bukola Saraki.

 

The immediate past President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has challenged the National Assembly to be quick in its next line of action fowling President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

In a statement on Wednesday, he proposed two critical decisions the lawmakers should make to ensure the bill becomes a law by January.

“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,” said the former Senate President. “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.”

READ ALSO: Buhari’s Letter Declining Assent To Electoral Act Amendment Bill Read At NASS

It was either commendation or criticism for various political players on Tuesday after it was revealed that the President had opted to withhold his assent to the bill.

In the letters read to lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives chambers, President Buhari raised concern over the mandatory direct mode of primaries for political parties.

While some governors and groups gave contrary reactions to the President’s decision, the lawmakers in both chambers said they would take definite action after their recess.

A file photo of the National Assembly complex in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

 

‘Not An Option’

Saraki, in his reaction, believes the present mood in the country is the desire to have a new electoral law that will lead to a credible, free, fair, and peaceful process of electing leaders at various levels.

He stressed that Nigerians needed a system that would ensure 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,” the former Senate President said.

“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.”

Akinola Ajibola

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Akinola Ajibola
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