Lawyers and other stakeholders have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the amended Electoral Bill recently passed by the National Assembly.
They stressed that the President should side with the Nigerians by assenting to the bill.
They also urged the president not to be swayed by the raging disagreement trailing the adoption of direct primaries for all political parties in the amendment bill.
Speaking on the bill, the director-general, Ekiti State Culture and Tourism Board, Ambassador Wale Ojo – Lanre said he would advise the President to assent to the Bill to enrich his credentials in governance.
Ojo-Lanre said: “The President has blazed many trails in governance in this country. Should he sign this bill, he will be adding another feather to his political cap. He has the opportunity to write his name in gold because of the importance of this particular bill to democracy and governance.”
A lawyer and public affairs analyst, Paschal Njoku, said the position that the federal lawmakers took was in line with the wishes of the majority of Nigerians that they represent. He noted that even after assenting to a bill there is always a provision for amendment.
I know that many governors, especially of the All Progressives Congress (APC), are not happy with the direct primaries imposed on political parties by the amended bill and I believe the President will likely be on the same side with them, but that is not a reason for him not to assent to it,” he said.
An associate professor of Political Science in Olabisi Onabanjo University, Dr. Goke Lalude, said the president has a golden opportunity to reinvent his name and image in the minds of Nigerians by signing the bill.
The don said: “it is now time for President Buhari to demonstrate his status of statesmanship. He must demonstrate political will and not mind whose ox will be gored among his party cohorts.
Human rights activist and expert in constitutional law, Ahmad Yusuf, said but for the electronic transmission of election results and the use of technology, the result of the just-concluded Anambra State governorship poll would probably be different.
According to him, “the result of the Anambra State election was a shock to many people, even though the turnout was low. The use of technology, especially the electronic transmission of results and the use of BVAS machines made a lot of difference and I think we should think more of this and embrace more of technology. The President should sign this quickly, even though I expect an amendment to the bill soon to accommodate electronic and disapora voting, but we will celebrate what we have for now and wish he signs immediately.”
A rights advocate, Ms. Justina Achegbo, said: “this amendment is a right in itself to voters fundamental human right of having their votes count; hence the President has to protect their rights by assenting the bill.
A security expert and consultant, Prince Ehize Oribhabor, reasoned that signing the amended electoral act at this time would not only put the President in the good books of many Nigerians, but give his political party, the APC, a major campaign instrument and make the people to believe that they do not have ulterior motive on the 2023 election.