…Opts for moral high ground
…APC leaders behind delay—PDP
…APC keeps mum
…He’s right to refer the bill for checks — Olawepo-Hashim
…As Bankole canvasses modified consensus to decide APC candidate
By Dapo Akinrefon & John Alechenu,
Fresh facts emerged over the weekend suggesting that barring any last-minute success for lobbying, President Muhammadu Buhari may not sign the amended Electoral Act, 2022.
Sources within the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Aso Rock Presidential Villa confirmed over the weekend that President Buhari is disturbed at the huge financial resources being deployed by politicians to woo delegates for the presidential and governorship primaries.
Fazed by the number of money politicians are throwing at potential delegates, a source inside Aso Rock disclosed that part of “President Buhari’s concern is that this type of expensive venture is capable of fueling corruption in the country.
“With the number of statutory delegates that will increase the total number of delegates in our party from about 2,400 to between 10,000 and 12,000, it means more money will be needed to induce delegates. The President considers this wasteful.
For the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, it has only 810 delegates but with statutory delegates, the number will shoot up to 3,900.”
The source explained further that “whereas some political parties have already begun their primaries, signing the amended version now will mean shifting the goal post or the rules in the middle of a game or causing the political parties to start afresh.”
Vanguard however gathered that as part of guidelines released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, political parties are expected to submit the names of their delegates to the convention at least, no later than seven days to the convention.
By that guideline, the PDP would be expected to have submitted the names of its delegates to INEC yesterday.
Based on the Electoral Act earlier signed by President Buhari, PDP is going ahead with its primaries.
If the President later signs the amended version, an INEC official who spoke to the vanguard on condition of anonymity said “this would create a muddle.”
APC leaders behind delay — PDP
The PDP, yesterday, accused some APC leaders of trying to derail democracy and illegally elongate its tenure beyond May 29, 2023.
The opposition party admonished the APC to perish the thoughts of subverting the electoral process “as part of its desperation to elongate its abysmal tenure beyond May 29, 2023.”
PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Debo Ologunagba, said: “The party (PDP), alerts Nigerians of the plot by the APC to use orchestrated insecurity and political uncertainty to derail the electoral process, stall the 2023 general election and create a situation to justify a tenure elongation.
“There are revelations that desperate APC leaders are behind the delay by President Muhammadu Buhari in signing the amendment to the Electoral Act 2022 to frustrate the smooth conduct of primaries by political parties and derail the entire electoral process.
“This attitude of Mr President to an issue that is critical to our electoral system is consistent with APC’s plot to cause confusion in the polity, orchestrate an un-conducive environment for elections, stall the 2023 general elections and achieve a rumoured third term agenda.
“The regularity of the electoral process as well as the confidence of the people in the certainty of timelines and outcomes of elections are the hallmarks of democracy, which the APC has been dislocating apparently with the view to undermining the electoral process.
“It is clear that the APC has already commenced this ignoble plot with its desperation to use the Court to overthrow the outcome of the FCT Area Council election held on Saturday, February 12, 2022, which was overwhelmingly won by candidates of the PDP, halt the swearing-in of the newly elected Chairmen and Councilors and impose an undemocratic government in the FCT.
“This is in addition to the provocative comments that have promoted disunity, agitations and restiveness in various parts of our country, including tagging a particular part of the country as a dot in a circle.
“Our party cautions the APC to note that its plans have been exposed and that Nigerians will never allow it to perpetuate its misrule through an orchestrated tenure elongation.
“Nigerians are determined to vote out the APC and return our nation to the path of unity, stability and economic prosperity under the PDP. No amount of shenanigan can keep the APC in power beyond May 29, 2023.”
APC keeps mum
Efforts to get the National Publicity of the APC, Mr Felix Morka, proved abortive as calls put across to him were unanswered.
Buhari’s right to refer the bill for checks says Olawepo-Hashim
But throwing his weight behind the president’s refusal to sign the amended act, a chieftain of the APC, Mr Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, said Buhari is right to refer to the new Electoral Act Amendment Bill for due diligence.
Olawepo-Hashim, in a statement by his media office in Abuja, said: “People have been churning out different versions of the act as if laws are primary school instructions of a village headmaster.
“We must put a stop to this and do things properly and be fair to the President and don’t ridicule his office by bringing things not properly digested for him to sign. The issue is about the political interest of different factions of the political elite working in cahoot with INEC. They want to present Nigerians with a fait accompli through the ongoing primaries of the two major political parties. The President can see through this.
“The solution as I have argued is simple. Let primaries hold between now and August when the Executive leadership, the Legislative leadership, INEC and the party leadership would have made input into an acceptable electoral act the President can sign.
“The Electoral Act says primaries should hold 180 days before the election and 180 days in August so, why the stampede? There must be transparency and fairness to all sides. No one should ambush anyone. I have been saying this since March.”
Bankole canvasses modified consensus to decide on APC candidate
Meanwhile, former speaker of the House of Representatives and presidential aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Dimeji Bankole, yesterday, called for the adoption of “modified consensus” as the preferred method for the emergence of the party’s presidential candidate.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, the aspirant noted that the modified consensus is the best approach and least costly option for the emergence of the party’s flag-bearer.
According to Bankole, the modified consensus option will see the leadership of the party engage with the various interest groups in the contest to ensure a hitch-free nomination process. The former speaker, who said consensus is not the same thing as an imposition, noted that the current opposition to the consensus arrangement in some quarters might be because “consensus is being erroneously equated with imposition.”
He said: “The emergence of the APC itself was a product of consensus. At critical points in the history of Nigeria, consensus had been used to break political logjams.”
He cited in particular the adoption of the “Doctrine of Necessity” during the illness of late President Umar Yar’Adua as a perfect example of the consensus option.
He also added that the consensus option was adopted in the emergence of Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu as chairman of the APC.
Given the heightened national interest in the emergence of the party’s presidential candidate and frenetic jostling by various groups, Bankole averred that “it is incumbent on the leadership of the party to adopt a method that ensures that the party can go to the 2023 elections as a united and formidable entity.”
The former speaker expressed confidence in the ability of the party leadership to do what was right to ensure a united front towards the elections and eventual victory at the 2023 polls.
Vanguard News Nigeria