Three parties file suit against amended Electoral Act
•Body wants urgent assent to bill
Three political parties have filed a suit seeking to stop President Muhammadu Buhari from endorsing the amended Electoral Act.Presidential candidate of Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance(APDA), Shitu Mohammed Kabir, filed the suit, alongside those of Allied Peoples Mandate (APM) and the Movement for Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD).
They are seeking an order of the Federal High Court to stop the president from signing the bill into law.They also want the court to determine if the new Act, if assented to, will not hinder the proper conduct of the 2019 elections by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof.Mahmoud Yakubu.
Kabir who is the Chairman, Forum of Presidential Candidates had earlier raised the alarm on what he called the “deliberate hurdles” capable of derailing the 2019 general elections.He said his position was influenced by what he termed “the stumbling blocks against a free and fair election” next year.
Specifically, he said the new Act, which stipulates electronic verification of voters and transmission of results will deliberately disenfranchise many voters, especially in the rural and remote areas due to obvious constraints of power supply and internet connectivity. Kabir argued that the time is rather too close to the election to enable INEC train its staff, especially its ad hoc staff, on how to handle the electronic devices.
Last week, chairmen of about 70 registered political parties had threatened to pull out of the 2019 general elections, if president
Buhari fails to sign the amended electoral bill, already transmitted to him by the National Assembly.Its National Publicity Secretary of Inter Party Advisory Council, Ikenga Ugochinyere, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja after its meeting.
In a related development, Director General of the Atiku-Obi Vanguard for Good Governance, Tunji Iyanda, has urged the National Assembly to veto President Buhari, if he refuses to sign the fourth version of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law.
The DG, who made the call at a media briefing in Lagos yesterday, said the prospect of a free and fair election would be dim, if the bill was not signed.Iyanda said: “The passage of the electoral bill is not about the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but about democracy and the credibility of the 2019 elections.”He urged the entire country to demand for it’s signing, or a veto by the National Assembly.