. Buhari Promises To Revisit Electoral Act
The Joint Forum of 60 Presidential Candidates and National Chairmen of political parties in Nigeria, have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Electoral Act Amendment into law to improve the country’s electoral system.
Chairman of the forum, Malam Shittu Mohammed, said this at a news conference in Abuja, on Tuesday.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 60 parties include, United People’s Congress (UPC), Advanced Congress of Democrat (ACD), Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) and Movement for The Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD).
Mohammed is also the National Chairman, Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA).
He urged the President to immediately sign the Electoral Act Amendment into law once it was presented to him again by the National Assembly.
He said that if passed into law, the Act would improve on the electoral process.
“That amendment will hugely improve our electoral system and its processes,” Mohammed said.
The chairman said that in spite of the unfavourable and hostile environment the election management body operated under, it still performed creditably well.
“We hereby unequivocally reaffirm our confidence in the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) for its performance against all odds in the conduct of the 2019 General Elections.
“There were several innovations introduced by INEC which made the 2019 elections freer, fairer and more credible than what was obtainable in the past elections.”
He listed the innovations to include, simultaneous accreditation and voting; the introduction of innovations for physically challenged voters and the Continuous Voter Registration among others.
“Therefore, the report of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EUEOM) released over a week ago wherein they alleged a lack of transparency in the guidelines of election is bewildering.
“With all due respect to the EUEOM, it is left to Nigerians to decide how we conducted our 2019 general elections.
“INEC consulted widely and extensively, and together with stakeholders of which we are a part of, came up with the guidelines for the conduct of the 2019 general elections, which the Commission followed to the latter.
“We recall that nine out of the 11 points for consideration we raised as candidates under the auspices of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) were adopted by the commission.”
Joint convener of the forum, Mr Perry Opara, urged chairmen of political parties to as stakeholders, set a template for generations yet unborn so that there will be stability in the country.
“We need our democracy to thrive and grow. The only way our democracy can grow is if democracy is sustained.
“We advise party chairmen and politicians to try as much as possible to calm their nerves and have confidence in the electoral body.”
Opara also called on aggrieved politicians to seek redress in the judiciary which was the last hope of the common man.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Presidency on Tuesday said it welcomed the endorsement of the 2019 Presidential Elections, described as free, fair and credible, by 60 presidential candidates and chairmen of their parties, urging opposition to accept loss with grace and maturity.
According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu in Abuja on Tuesday, the Presidency was reacting to the press conference of the Joint Forum of the candidates.
He said the Presidency assured Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari would look into the Electoral Act as the candidates had advised.
”We are encouraged by the patriotism of the Presidential Candidates expressed in clear and matured language.
”We are convinced that, regardless of our different political persuasions we can work together to improve electoral integrity in Nigeria,’’ Shehu said.
He added that the ”Presidency is in agreement with the Joint Forum that despite the temporary setbacks experienced at the beginning, INEC managed to produce an election in which the voice of the ordinary people counted.
”Democracy is founded on the will of the people and INEC did well to ensure this outcome was achieved in the 2019 elections.’’
Shehu restated that “the success of democracy does not only depend on electoral laws, but also on behaviour, character and attitude of politicians.’’
He also reiterated that “do-or-die politics is a threat to the success of electoral laws and democracy. “And you don’t need to kill in order to serve the people.’’
The Presidential aide said the presidency assured members of the joint forum of the 60 political parties and chairmen of parties that the President would not spare any effort in signing the Electoral Act into law after looking into it.