Electoral Act Bill: IPAC tells National Assembly not to override Buhari | Dailytrust

Electoral Act Bill: IPAC tells National Assembly not to override Buhari

National Assembly
National Assembly

The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has urged the National Assembly not to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto on his decision to withhold assent to the Electoral Act Bill amendment.

This is as the council also urged the lawmakers and the Judiciary to urgently come together to save democracy in Nigeria by ending incessant defection of elected officers from the party on which they were elected to another at the detriment of democracy.

National Chairman, IPAC, Engr. Yabagi Yusuf Sani, at a news conference on Monday in Abuja, said the council is backing the President for declining assent to the amended Electoral Act, part of which compels parties to adopt Direct Primaries to produce candidates for general elections.

Sani said that though the provision may appear to be beneficial, Nigeria is, however, currently not ripe to adopt such, thus the National Assembly attempt to veto the decision of the President will be fruitless.

“We have noted that the only expressed grouse of the President on the basis of which he held back his assent, is the provision in the Bill for mandatory use of Direct Primary election in the selection of flag bearers of all the political parties.

“While many may not concede to the explanations of security challenges with the other reasons given by the President, it will be difficult, however, to disagree with him on the reason of complex logistics and huge financial burden that direct primary elections will imply for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“Many have canvassed the view that no amount of money should be considered too high in the efforts to sanitise the nation’s electoral process and that the Legislature should, therefore, invoke its veto powers to overrule the President.

“To us in IPAC, such an action may be tantamount to a wholesale wrecking of the boat.

“We are of the view that, much as we may cherish its perceived benefits, the country, at this stage of the progress of its democracy, does not appear to be sufficiently ripe and prepared for the direct primary election model in the selection of political party flag bearers,” Sani said.

He also said that IPAC’s stance regarding National Assembly’s position on indirect primaries amounts to an attempt to usurp the constitutional rights of parties as to the method of choice of their party flag bearers.

Speaking on the defection of elected officials, the IPAC boss said, “On the question of the incessant assault on the nation’s constitution by way of unconscionable defections of elected officials from one party to another, the IPAC National Executive Committee (NEC) is calling on the legislature and the judiciary to urgently come together to save democracy in Nigeria by putting a stop to the ugly trend.

“This is based on our considered view that it is utterly illegal for an elected official who was elected on the platform and manifesto of one political party to abandon such a party while in office, without the constitutional conditions precedent to do so.

“In taking this position, the IPAC would want to draw attention to the constitutional provision which stipulates that elected officials can only legally jump boat, that is, change from one party to another while in office if and only if, a clear case of divisions or fictionalisation is perceived to exist in the party on whose platform he or she rode to the office in the first instance.

“To the best of our knowledge, most incidents of defections, especially in recent times, have occurred without the obvious existence of such situations.

“Furthermore, IPAC wishes to point to the fact that frivolous and wilful cross carpeting only exists in a parliamentary democracy and not in a presidential system of democracy that is extant in Nigeria.”

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