Electoral Act Signing: Wike Is Lying..Presidency

The Presidency, on Sunday, posited that the assertion by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State that President Muhammadu Buhari does not want to sign the reworked Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 because it will affect the chances of his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) may be just a lie.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu, who said this in a chat on Sunday, alleged that it is the habit of the governor to speak that way.

The Rivers governor had said that Buhari is apprehensive to sign the bill because it will adversely affect his party in the 2023 general election because of the inclusion of the compulsory electronic transmission of electoral results in it.

“They are afraid that if INEC in 2023 transmits election results electronically that is the end of them because they know they will fail,” Wike had said of the president and the APC at an event in Yenagoa on Saturday.

When asked to react to the governor’s position, a reluctant Shehu maintained that he had no information on whether or not the president will assent to the bill.

He also said he did not know the clauses Governor Wike cited as he claimed that he had not read the contents of the reworked proposed law.

“I don’t have any information on that one. I don’t know the clauses. I haven’t read the clauses,” the presidential spokesman said.

When reminded that Wike specifically pointed to the inclusion of the electronic transmission of results as what may cause the president to refuse assent again, Shehu noted: “I’m not trying to argue with you. My point is that I’ve not read the bill, I’ve not read the content. Maybe he (Wike) read it. Maybe he’s lying.”

When further pressed to react to Wike’s accusation against President Buhari, he added: “He’s free. He’s always doing that. I’m not bothered. He’s always doing that. Go and write whatever you want. I have no idea and I will not like to give you this story. I don’t have any idea and I don’t know anything.”

Recall that President Buhari in a letter to the National Assembly last December said that after a careful review, he was returning the bill having received an informed in light of the current realities prevalent in the country.

Following the non-inclusion of the direct primary provision in the bill as the sole means for political parties to select their candidates, Buhari in the letter, explained that the nomination of party candidates solely via direct primaries as envisaged by the bill has serious adverse legal, financial, economic and security consequences which, he said, cannot be accommodated at the moment considering the nation’s peculiarities.

He argued that it also has implications on the rights of citizens to participate in the government as constitutionally ensured.

The president affirmed: “The amendment as proposed is a violation of the underlying spirit of democracy which is characterised by freedom of choices.

“Political party membership is a voluntary exercise of the constitutional right to freedom of association.

“Several millions of Nigerians are not card-carrying members of any political party.

“Thus, the emphasis should be on enabling qualified Nigerians to vote for the candidate of their choice during general elections as a means of participation in governance and furtherance of the concept of universal adult suffrage or universal franchise.”

“The proposed amendment may also give rise to a plethora of Iitigations based on diverse grounds and issues of Law including but not limited to the fact that the proposed amendment cannot work in retrospect given that the existing Constitution of the Parties already registered with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) permits direct, indirect and consensus primaries.

“This real possibility, will, without doubt, truncate the electoral program of the Nation as another electoral exercise is imminent towards a change of Government in 2023.”

Even though the National Assembly has now reworked the bill in an attempt to satisfy the president, the Rivers governor maintained that President Buhari will still not sign it because it will not serve the interest of the APC.


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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