By Ayo Kehinde
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has warned that the negative impact of not assenting to amendments to Nigeria’s Electoral Act as contained in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill (2018) before next year’s general elections will endanger the deepening of the country’s democracy.
In its reaction to rejection of the amendments to the bill by President Muhammadu Buhari, CNPP’s Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu said in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday that “there are indications that a cabal that resents credible electoral process is bent on frustrating the signing of any amendment to the electoral laws ahead of 2019.”
It then urged the National Assembly to save the country’s democracy and veto President’s assent.
According to the umbrella organisation of all registered political parties and political associations in the country, “it has become obvious that while President Buhari may ordinarily wish to ensure credible electoral process, but some persons around him, which constitutes the cabal, resent free and fair contest and may have again deceived him into withholding assent to the bill.
“The CNPP as a body conceived as a common platform for political parties in Nigeria, shares common concerns of well meaning Nigerians on issues bordering on rule of law, promotion and defence of democratic principles and practices.
“Therefore, this singular rejection of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill (2018) by Mr. President is another repressive attempt to stem multi-party democracy and have completely removed the last hope of level playing ground for all political parties in the forthcoming elections.
“It is ironical that President Muhammadu Buhari has been promising free and fair elections and at the same time refusing to give effect to the only instrument that would have proven his commitment to credible electoral process in 2019.
“As one of the greatest beneficiary of free and fair election from the last administration, we thought that Mr. President and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) should have been at the forefront of promoting transparency in elections.
“However, to save our democracy and to take Nigeria’s electoral process to the next level of free and fair polls, not the next level of rigging, we demand that the National Assembly, as a matter of urgency, override Mr. President’s veto with a two-third-majority.
“As it stands, the only hope Nigerians have left now rests on the National Assembly’s willingness to do the needful at this trying moment in our democratic journey”, the CNPP stated.