As President Muhammadu Buhari officially resumes work today after his 10 days vacation in the United Kingdom and the Sallah celebration in Daura, Katsina State, his home town, leaders of some political parties have called on him to immediately sign the amended Electoral Act that was submitted to him by the National Assembly before his leave to give life to the nation’s electoral process.
They said the call has become very urgent on the grounds that when the National Assembly submitted the corrected version of the Electoral Act to him for assent after it was first sent back because of errors that were detected in it, many had thought that the President will consider assenting to it as a matter of priority, especially considering the urgency of the Act with regards to the 2019 elections.
It is instructive to note the that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has already fixed September for the political parties to commence their primaries while the Electoral Act is the ground rule for the conduct of the elections.
However, the President has yet to sign the Electoral Act, which the National Assembly submitted to him on the day the lawmakers went on their annual vacation on August 2, before he (President) proceeded on his 10 days annual leave.
It was expected that the leave would have given the President ample time to not only go through the bill but also make up his mind about it considering thje urgency of the Act to the nation’s electoral future.
Incidentally, some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have called on the National Assembly to call short its annual break to consider the budget for INEC which was submitted to it before it went on break.
The importance of the Electoral Act cannot be over-emphasized as it is intended to deal with the issue of the Permanent Voter’s Card and the Card Reader, a very important aspect of the electoral Process that was introduced by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan which has become the major part of the system.
Many had said that it is the introduction of the PVC and the card reader that have now made it impossible to rig elections and with the introduction of the tracking device which is part of the Electoral Act waiting for the President’s assent, rigging of elections has become a herculean task, which has now given rise to vote buying in recent elections.
Speaking on the delay in signing the act, the National Vice Chairman, South West of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), Dr. Eddy Olafeso said, “time is overdue for the President to sign that Electoral Act.
“There are too many contradictions, the President cannot be overruling what the National Assembly has done on the Electoral Act, it must be signed quickly.
Also reacting, the National Chairman of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Chief Ralph Nwosu said Buhari should sign the Electoral Act without further delay.