Electoral Act: ‘Buhari’s amendment request, a selfish move to protect sacred cows’ – Wike

Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has said that the request by President Muhammadu Buhari to amend Section 84 (12) of the newly assented Electoral Act is a selfish move aimed at protecting sacred cows within his cabinet.

Wike, who reacted with mixed feelings to the signing of the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill into law yesterday, said although the introduction of electronic transmission of results will reduce killings and electoral fraud in the country, the president’s reservations on Section 84(12), which deals with the status of political appointees during party conventions and congresses, is selfish.

Briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt, Governor Wike said Buhari’s reservation indicates that protecting the interest of his appointees was all the while the main reason for not signing the amended Bill and not the initial rejection on the ground of the mode of conducting party primaries.

The Rivers State governor called on the National Assembly not to be taken as “kindergartens” by refusing to amend the section of the newly signed Electoral Act as requested by President Buhari. He equally challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to seize this opportunity to prove its credibility in delivering acceptable elections.

Recall that President Buhari faulted Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022. He believes the provision, as contained in the newly signed Act, constitutes a fundamental defect as it conflicts with extant constitutional provisions.

The president, who stated this in his speech yesterday, while signing the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill into law in Abuja, said he believes the section disenfranchises serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at conventions or congresses of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election, in cases where it holds earlier than 30 days to the national election.

President Buhari stressed that the provision introduced qualification and disqualification criteria that ultra vires the Constitution, by way of importing blanket restrictions to serving political officeholders. He, however, acknowledged the ‘great deal of improvement’ in the Electoral Act, compared with the previous Electoral Bill, 2021.

According to the president, the law contains salient provisions that could positively revolutionise the nation’s elections via the introduction of new technological innovations.

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