Saliu Mustapha
Saliu Mustapha

Electoral Act amendment: Saliu Mustapha hails NASS for acceding to President Buhari’s request

NEWS DIGEST – A frontline aspirant for the position of National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Mallam Saliu Mustapha has hailed the two chambers of the National Assembly for seeing the wisdom in President Muhammadu Buhari’s suggestion that a single mode of primaries should not be forced on political parties in the 2021 Electoral Act (amendment bill).

He said in a statement issued on his behalf by his media aide, Dapo Okubanjo, that although the Senate and the House of Representatives have different views on possible options,it was a thing of joy that the federal lawmakers expunged the contentious clause rather than attempt to override the President’s veto.

“For several weeks, the main issue in the polity had been President Buhari’s decision to decline assent to the electoral act amendment bill of 2021 on the grounds of insecurity and cost of conducting direct primaries with many stakeholders having their say on the matter.

“Only a few days ago, governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) even urged the National Assembly to override the President’s veto but I am glad that the legislators have agreed on the need to expand the options to include indirect primaries and consensus,on the part of the Senate.

“Like I said in previous interactions with the media, political parties should be allowed to determine the mode of primates that will further their quest to win elections and this is exactly what it means by providing those  options rather than foist one on everyone.

“And although the two chambers have yet to harmonize their positions,it still a step away from what many thought was going to be a major political row between the Executive and the legislature.

“So I have nothing but accolades for the leadership of the two legislative chambers as well as the members,” he noted.

The Turaki of Ilorin also urged the National Assembly to move fast to harmonise their position on the contentious clause 84.

Mustapha said: “Now that the Senate and the House of Representatives have completed work on it with divergent bills, the next step is to have a unified one so I’m urging the leadership to expedite action on setting up a conference committee.

“This is because of time factor as well as the need to wrap up the electoral act amendment bill as soon as possible.”

Mustapha added that the manner the National Assembly acted on the President’s observation showed that the two chambers have individuals who are committed to nation building.