“The President would sign the law, he is committed to the electoral reforms and the bumps under the bed have been removed. Once that is surely done (re-transmitted by NASS), the President will sign,” said recently by Garba Shehu, a media assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Theeditorial reports that Shehu gave this assurance last month (September 12, 2019) on Sunrise Daily, a popular morning programme on Channels Television, where he was featured alongside a Rights Activist, Ariyo-Dare Atoye.
His responses on the electoral act amendments at different times during the questions and answers show are quoted here: “The National Assembly does make the effort to review the electoral act and make changes where necessary so that implementations are made. Unfortunately, before the 2019 elections, I think the entire atmosphere was itself fouled by the antagonism of the parliament with the executive and the ill-will with which the amendment was approached. And that warranted the back and forth between executive and the legislature. And by the time a concurrence was reached, it was virtually too close to election and too late for anyone to have signed the electoral act amendments and make it come into effect.
“Yes, I agree we have lost some grounds, but it arises from this ground I just mentioned. And I hope that there will be an early start so that we will have a very sound electoral act that will take in, all of these advances, formalize them, the technology that has been introduced, and increase their involvement.
“I want to say I am speaking for the President; I know that the President has vowed on so many occasions that his purpose in dealing with this matter is that he leaves behind electoral outcomes in terms of qualities that are higher than the ones that even brought him to office.
“The Court of Appeal judgement is a learning curve for everyone. It will be arrogant of anyone not to look at it and say let us pick lessons from it. I believe, more than any person that INEC will study this and the National Assembly should act accordingly.
“On the overall, we have welcome all of the reports (by observers) that came, and we say we will study them and take lessons. Clear lessons were written with purposes other than the improvements of the quality of our own processes.
“The President would sign the law, he is committed to the electoral reforms and the bumps under the bed have been removed. Once that is surely done (re-transmitted by NASS), the President will sign.
“My sense is that INEC has built up (capacity) to the use of card reader for elections. But because the electoral act which permitted this did not come in time, it had to be abandoned. The card reader is not a substitute for voters’ register. If the voters’ register is used throughout, it is a valid election. Nothing takes away from it,” said Shehu, while featuring on the morning show to speak on the outcomes of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
President Buhari remains the only Nigerian President since 1999, who has not committed to any kind of electoral reforms, despite repeatedly acknowledging challenges in our elections the past. He was thrice a guest of the election petition Tribunal.
The video of the conversation is available on the Channels Television Youtube channel.