By Sunday Oyinloye
The member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia North/Umuahia South Federal Constituency of Abia State, and member of the House Committee on Electoral Matters, Hon. Sam Onuigbo, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to listen to the overwhelming voice of Nigerians and assent to the revised Electoral Act Amendment Bill which was transmitted to him for assent on Monday, January 31, 2022.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had declined assent to the Bill after it was passed by the National Assembly and transmitted to him for assent last year, citing the need to revise some clauses. The National Assembly had then worked on the Bill, made the necessary revisions and passed the Bill in January this year.
Onuigbo speaking on Channels Television’s “Sunrise Daily” this morning said President Buhari had promised that he would leave a very good and solid electoral law before leaving office, and therefore urged him to keep to his words and assent to the Bill since the Bill portends a huge improvement to Nigeria’s electoral system:
In his words:”Mr. President has said on several occasions that he would like to leave a very good and solid electoral law in place. We (the National Assembly]) have assisted him by making the ground very smooth for him to achieve that.”
While calling on State Governors and others with personal interests to stop trying to sabotage the Electoral Law by pressurizing the President not to assent to the Bill, the Federal Lawmaker urged the President to be on the side of teeming Nigerians who are clamouring for good governance and thus see the Electoral Law as a chance to achieve that
“I want Mr. President to be on the side of Nigerians, to be patriotic and leave a legacy. Let this Bill be one of his legacies as he prepares to leave office. Not assenting to this Bill before he leaves office will not reflect well on his image when he bows out. So if anybody is trying to influence him in a negative way, he should be able to juxtapose such an attempt with the type of legacy he wants to leave and make the right decision. I, of course, will like to see him choose that which is patriotic, that which will help in installing an enduring democratic process.” he said
A new Electoral Law is expected to have been in existence at least 12 months before an election, for it to be used. Nigeria’s General Elections are forecast to start in February 2023 thus leaving President Buhari with a short time to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill for it to come into effect for the general elections.