By Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
Two notable Nigerian elder statesmen have disagreed with the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw his assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2018, which a number of Nigerians considered as capable of improving the country’s electoral system.
Former liaison officer to ex-President Shehu Shagari and founding member, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, who was particularly uncomfortable with the sequencing of the election, urged lawmakers to take up the challenge of overriding President Buhari’s veto.
“I hope members of the National Assembly will summon the courage to override the veto of the president so that everybody will be elected on his own merit. I don’t know why the president wants to depend on the merit of others to get to power. He can get to power on his own merit and others can get to power on their own merit,” Yakassai said.
The elder statesman added that: “I did not support the position of the president because I think it is important that in this country, every person who is contesting election, the mandate he gets is his own mandate. Electing president along with members of the National Assembly has not clearly defined who has the mandate.
“In my opinion, a member, who is elected on his own, the electorate gave him the mandate to himself, not to anybody.
“When anyone is contesting as a president or a governor, he should get his own mandate separately so that when it comes to the question of performance, people will know who has performed, according to the mandate given to him or who has not performed. But if you join two people with the same mandate, then you are neither here nor there. So, that is the reason why I am not in support of the position of the president.”
On his part, Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, is of the opinion that the decision of the president is simply to secure victory in 2019 by stopping some of the innovations introduced in the amendment.
“To people like me; I am not surprised. I have always known him to be a dictator. All his pretence to democratic principles is just a fake. He knows that with the amendments the possibility of rigging will be removed; under aged voters and duplications will be removed. “These are the circumstances that he used to win in the 2015 election and the moment that possibility is removed, he is sure he is going to lose.
“For him to withdraw his assent is not a surprise to me! It is only to educate those who have believed in his fake identity to know that the man is not what he claims to be. “He is a dictator. He wants maximum power.
“We have been calling everybody to ensure that Buhari is removed. He knows that and that is why he putting impediments on the way,” he added.