Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have called on the National Assembly members to hasten their decision on the controversial Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021.
With the renewed discussions around the bill by Nigerians at different fora, the governors, in a communique issued after their meeting in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, on Monday, said the lawmakers are left with the options of “overriding Mr President’s veto or deleting areas of complaints.”
President Muhammadu Buhari, had in December, declined assent to the bill, citing the direct primary clause and its cost implications on the country as his reasons for not signing the bill.
The National Assembly will reconvene on Tuesday with the discussion on the bill expected to top its agenda.
They had proceeded on Christmas/New Year break a day after Mr Buhari informed of his decline to assent the bill.
Given different reasons, Mr Buhari had previously rejected the Electoral Bill three times but none of those rejections has met such a stream of oppositions as the latest one.
The governors, under the aegis of PDP Governors Forum, in their resolution advised the NASS to explore the option of sustaining Mr Buhari’s veto so as to caution the President from making similar moves in the future.
“The meeting advised that the option of sustaining Mr President’s veto would lead to a quicker resolution and would deny Mr President the opportunity to once again truncate a reformed Electoral jurisprudence for Nigeria. An early concluded Electoral Act is vital for credible elections,” they said in the communique read by the Forum’s Chairman, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.
Also in their usual tone, the governors heaped the blame of the worsening state of insecurity in Nigeria on the central government highlighting the latter’s refusal to approve state policing as a major reason for the growth of insurgencies and banditary.
The president, in a recent interview with Channels Television, restated his stance against state policing, a struggle the governors has been launching to win for over a year now.
“The meeting expressed regrets that Mr President is unwilling, from his recent comments discountenancing the proposals for state policing, to participate in reviewing the structural problems of tackling insecurity in Nigeria and urges Mr President to reconsider his position and consider decentralisation and restructuring of the security architecture as the most viable solution, together with proper arming, funding and training requirements for Security Agencies,” the governors again noted in the communique.
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They also berated the APC-led government dictatorial disposition by banning Twitter for seven months, thereby causing more harm to Nigerian youth who use the platform as a business tool amidst the country’s biting unemployment rate.
Of the 13 governors under the PDP auspices, only 10 governors attended the meeting hosted by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
The governors in attendance include Mr Tambuwal of Sokoto State; Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State; Douye Diri of Bayelsa State; Samuel Ortom of Benue State and Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.
Others are the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Oluseyi Makinde of Oyo State; Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State; Darius Ishaku of Taraba State and the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed.
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