The Organisation for Community Civic Engagement, (OCCEN), a Civil Society Organisation has begun mounting pressure on the National Assembly to veto President Muhammadu Buhari if he fails to sign Electoral Amendment Bill 2021.
Addressing newsmen in Kano yesterday, an OCCEN Executive Director, Abdulrazaq Alkali, lamented that the President was yet to sign the bill into law even as the deadline for the Bill to become law would elapse in two weeks.
He said, “The president had been foot-dragging and unjustifiably delaying on the Bill”, adding that “the president’s gesture should be worrying because he seemed to be giving priority some powerful and selfish categories of politicians who felt threatened that the return of candidate selection to citizens will depose them of their firm grip on political parties”.
The OCCEN Executive-Director also stated that even though the President was said to have written Independent Electoral Commission, (INEC), seeking its advice on the Bill, “this seems like tactics adopted by the Presidency to look for reasons to reject the Bill in such a way that any non-conforming comment from the INEC that seems not to favour the Bill will be used as a reason to throw it away”.
He stressed his support for some members of the National Assembly who had vowed to veto the President if he declines to sign the Bill, saying that they have constitutional rights to do so. “From all indications, they do have the numbers to achieve that constitutionally, provided politics and lobbying do not distract them from doing the right thing”, he said.
Alkali said that should the Bill fail to scale through within the two weeks’ deadline, Buhari’s legacy and history of Nigeria’s democracy would not be kind to him.
While calling on the NASS to be resolute in their decision to veto the President, Alkali stressed that there are many CSOs that are clamouring for the passage of the Bill and would do everything with the ambits of the law to support the legislators.