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Electoral bill: PDP accuses APC of plotting tenure elongation

The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised an alarm over the continued refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Electoral Act…

The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised an alarm over the continued refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill passed by the National Assembly, saying it is a plot by the APC to perpetuate themselves in power.

Addressing a world press conference in Abuja, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, said Buhari’s refusal could lead to violence and humanitarian crisis capable of affecting the West African sub-region.

He said PDP is concerned that less than a year to the 2023 general elections, President Buhari and the APC administration “are heightening apprehensions across the country and orchestrating a constitutional impasse that could railroad our democracy into an emergency tenure elongation.”

The spokesman accused the administration of plotting to postpone the election or “worst still an interim government situation.”

He said there was growing tension with the capacity to spawn “widespread restiveness with consequential violence, bloodletting and attendant humanitarian crisis in the country that may affect the entire West African sub-region, Europe, America and other parts of the world if not addressed.

“This is because Nigerians, especially the youths have become more politically aware and involved, with a well-founded and implacable aversion to injustice, oppression, manipulations and undemocratic tendencies as being witnessed under the APC administration. Evidence of this mood became manifest in the EndSARS protest of October 2020.”

Ologunagba also said they were in possession of information about how some selfish “unelected cabinet ministers, advisers and other top government functionaries with ambitions for presidential, governorship and other elective positions are mounting pressure on President Buhari not to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill to enable them to remain longer in office to continue to use public funds to corruptly pursue their political interests.

“President Buhari who claims to be fighting corruption is condoning and encouraging this inordinate access to public funds in pursuit of private ambitions.

“The only way Mr. President can extricate himself is to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill immediately,” PDP said.

He advised President Buhari and APC leaders to stop toying with the aspiration of Nigerians to entrench democracy through the process of free, fair, transparent and credible elections in 2023.”

According to the opposition party, given the precarious political situation in the country today, they are calling on Nigerians, organized labour, civil society, student bodies, trade unions to impress it on the president to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill to avert an impending crisis in the country.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should also “stand on the side of democracy, to get prepared to use technology that abounds to ensure the direct transmission of election results from the polling units in the 2023 elections.”

Meanwhile, a former Senate president, Senator Bukola Saraki, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the bill as a legacy for the foundation of democracy in the country.

Addressing journalists shortly after attending the meeting of the zonal and state women leaders of the PDP at the national headquarters of the party in Abuja, Saraki appealed to the president to sign the bill as the strength of any good governance is its electoral process.

The secretary of the APC, John James Akpanudoedehe, neither picked his call nor responded to a text message sent to his phone.

By Baba Martins