Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress and erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New People’s Democratic Party (nPDP), Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has thrown his weight behind the decision of President Mohammadu Buhari, declining assent to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill.
Recalling that the said bill was transmitted to the President on November 19, 2021 and the 30 days provided by the Constitution for signing or rejection of the bill expired on Monday, 20th December 2021, he said the President was eight to accordingly return the Bill to the National Assembly. .
In a statement in PH, the party chief said as expected of every critical thinker and nationalist, President Buhari acted in defence of the country’s political, economic and constitutional interests and to protect the very foundations of the nation’s nascent democracy.
Quoting President Buhari, Eze said: “The conduct of direct primaries across the 8,809 wards across the length and breadth of the country will lead to a significant spike in the cost of conducting primary elections by parties as well as increase in the cost of monitoring such elections by INEC who has to deploy monitors across these wards each time a party is to conduct direct primaries for the presidential, gubernatorial and legislative posts. The addition of these costs with the already huge cost of conducting general elections will inevitably lead to huge financial burden on both the political parties, INEC and the economy in general at a time of dwindling revenues.”
Aligning with the views of the President on the burdensome implication of assenting to the bill, on the economy and the lean purse of weeny political organizations, the party chief said an obligatory direct primaries will function to frustrate the chances of smaller parties to flow with the tide given the huge financial engagements which poses a threatening posture on the nation’s economy already affected by the global economic realities.
“If political parties struggle to sponsor candidates for election under the current regime that offers an assortment of methods for the selection of candidates for the general elections, adopting a system that provides a single obligatory method of primaries may force many of them into extinction and others into involuntary and valueless merger.”
Eze also said the security situation in the country is already troubling and poses serious concern to Nigerians. Consequently, he said, direct method of primaries and it’s attendant challenges is not peace-oriented and thus is grossly amiss with the Nigerian political context and atmosphere.
“Assenting to that piece of legislation will throw the country back to the crude system practiced in the small ancient Greek city state where democracy was first practiced and where people gathered to directly select those on whom to trust public administration. Democracy has advanced and Nigeria must align and progress with the changing tides”.
Eze berated the Gov Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his likes who are trying hard to take advantage of the opportunity to paint their tainted selves pure by suddenly putting up a public countenance that suggests them to be more Nigerian than true Nigerians.
Describing the Governor as a hypocrite, the party chief recalled how Wike fought to frustrate the financial autonomy of local government and how he has continued to deny same status to the legislative and judicial arms of government in Rivers State, thus, stifling democracy and frustrating the optimum performance of these arms and the local government tier of government.
Eze called on the Governor to stop his stack display of ignorance and be open to learning, stressing that his attention-seeking showbiz is not the best strategy in the business of politics and governance. He said his state has continued to suffer irredeemably in all spheres as a result of his careless and ill-informed approach to critical issues of administration and counsel led him to concentrate on providing the services of leadership to the good people of Rivers State.
Similarly, the party Chieftain called the attention of members of the National Assembly who are promoting dissenting views on President Buhari’s stance on the Electoral Act (Amendment) bill, to ruminate extensively and understand the salient points canvassed by the President as reasons for his refusal of assent, noting that the economic and security situation of the country does not support the new features inserted into the amended bill.
Eze highlighted that with INEC postulation that 301 LGAs out of 744 LGAs lack internet facilities makes the electronic transmission of results very doubtful.
Counseling lawmakers to jettison activating their veto power on the bill, Eze called and tasked them to channel attention towards proposing laws that will close all economic loopholes, create jobs and tackle armed banditry, terrorism and other menacing security challenges facing the country.
Finally, Eze expressed happiness that President Buhari while throwing more light with Channels crew recently on why he did not sign the Electoral Act stated, “I am not against Direct Primaries. I am for options and that is Democracy. The options are Direct, Indirect and Consensus. You cannot force anybody on Direct Primaries. If that is done, I will sign the Electoral Act. With the wisdom exhibited by Mr. President, I implore Nigerians to applaud the President for saving our democracy from the hands of shortsighted commentators.