Political aspirants and lawmakers under the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party are not pleased with President Muhammadu Buhari‘s failure to sign the amended Electoral Bill.
Recall that the National Assembly last week passed a bill which allows statutory delegates to vote in primaries, but President Buhari refused to sign the bill.
Those identified as ‘statutory delegates’ include the President, Vice President, Members of the National Assembly, Governors and their deputies, Members of the State Houses of Assembly, Chairmen of Councils, Councillors, and National Working Committee of political parties, amongst others.
Sources that spoke on the issue with Daily Sun claimed that the decision of the President might be a payback to the lawmakers who in March failed to consider and pass an amendment on the same Act sent to them.
The source further stated that President Buhari is worried that if the bill is signed into law, it may further polarise the already tense political climate.
The source said, “If the president signs the bill into law and gives legal backing to the recognition of statutory delegates, amidst the ongoing conduct of primaries by political parties, it may jeopardise the conduct of the general elections next year.”
The source added that Buhari wants to reduce the chances of aspirants under the PDP and APC compromising delegates ahead of the Presidential primaries.
The source stated, “With the number of statutory delegates, it will go to about 10,000 to 12,000. If the law is left as it is, only about or at best, 2,200 delegates will elect the presidential candidates of the two political parties. The President believes that will reduce any planned financial inducement of these delegates. As far as the President is concerned, that’s very wasteful.
“For the PDP, there are only 810 delegates, but with statutory delegates, the number would shoot up to 3,900. Imagine how the inducement will increase. The president doesn’t want that under his watch.”
“Many party chieftains know this. Buhari is also extracting a pound of flesh from National Assembly members. They quickly added statutorily but ignored their agreement to delete a part of Section 84. Buhari wants to leave a legacy of probity. He’s also worried about the huge cost and management of delegates. Statutory delegates would increase the number of delegates in APC from about 2, 200 to about 12,000. It is expensive for aspirants, even in terms of money for bribes. It will fuel corruption. Some parties have already started their primaries, so if signed now, will they start all over again? INEC guidelines say parties must submit delegates’ lists seven days before the convention. What happens to parties that have started their primaries? These are the issues that informed the president’s decision.”
This article was originally published on Nigeria News