Mike Ozekhome, Constitutional lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, says President Muhammadu Buhari is afraid of imminent defeat in 2019 presidential election, hence his reason for refusing assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
Buhari had for the third time withheld his assent to the bill.
Buhari in a letter transmitted to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara dated December 6, 2018, explained that passing the bill could cause “some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process.”
This has attracted a lot of criticisms from many quarters, including the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, amongst others.
Ozekhome, speaking on the development, pointed out that Buhari by refusing to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill is to provide a suitable environment to enhance electoral manipulation to pave way for his re-election.
He, however, called on both Houses of parliament, the National Assembly to muster 2/3 majority votes to override the President under section 58 of the 1999 Constitution.
Speaking with Vanguard, he said, “Buhari is obviously afraid not just of defeat, but of routing in the next presidential election.
“His refusal is an unveiled and desperate attempt to foist on Nigerians, the grand electoral fraud and larceny of bazaar votes we witnessed in the North West, especially in Kano in 2015.
“Recall that the then Kano Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Returning Officer was burnt to death with his entire family as soon as the results were announced. Till date, no arrest has ever been made of the culprits who annihilated an entire family just so that a person will have power.
“That desperation has been lampooned again and again by Aisha, his very wife. The amendments were aimed at sanitizing and deodorizing the electoral process, enthrone integrity in it,transmit results automatically from the polling units to the announcement centres after parties representatives have signed and endorsed. This prevents rigging, especially after-count rigging, when declared results are brazenly altered.
“How can any genuine democrat ever be against such auspicious amendments, if not for sinister purposes? All hope is not lost.
“The simple answer is for both Houses of parliament, the National Assembly to muster 2/3 majority votes to override the President under section 58 of the 1999 Constitution.”