Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the National Assembly to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto on the signing of amended Electoral Act into law since his refusal is allegedly out of personal and partisan interests instead of the overall interest of the country.The party alleged that President Buhari, in his desperation to achieve a personal ambition, is holding the country to ransom by refusing to sign the Electoral Act amendment bill, passed by the National Assembly to check manipulations in the 2019 general election.In a statement issued yesterday by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the main opposition party said President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) are quavering because the draft law will effectively check all their machinations, which they have been deploying in rigging past elections and intend to use in the 2019 general election.According to the PDP, the amendment bill, which is in the overall interest of the country, will embattle President Buhari because it will eliminate openings for major malpractices, including the use of underage and alien voters; vote buying, alteration of results and manipulation of voters’ register, which the APC intends to use to rig the 2019 elections.According to that statement, “Such provisions include granting INEC powers to utilise full biometrics accreditation of voters with smart card readers and other technological devices, which the Buhari presidency and APC know will effectively check their reliance on dead, underage and alien voters, and intend to use, particularly in the presidential election.
“The amendment bill also provides for instant transmission of results from polling to collation centres which ensures real-time results and reduces human interferences and election malpractices, thus effectively checking the alteration of results by the APC.”
PDP further alleged that the presidency and APC are against the provision that makes it mandatory for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to publish voters register online, and as such, end their usual manipulation of voters’ register ahead of elections.
It said the presidency and APC are also opposing the amendment bill because of a provision which restricts arbitrary qualifications for candidates and encourages younger aspirants, “as they fear that such can jeopardise President Buhari’s chances in the APC.
“President Buhari knows that having failed Nigerians in his first tenure, there is no way he can win in a free, fair and credible election, hence the desperation to manipulate the system and undermine the electoral laws.
“The PDP therefore called on the National Assembly to override President Buhari since his refusal to sign the amendment bill is out of personal and partisan interests instead of the overall interest of the country.
“This is especially as Nigerians have already reached a consensus to rally on the platform of the repositioned PDP to elect a new president with the competence and sincerity of purpose to return our country to good governance, national cohesion and economic prosperity.”