Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has said President Muhammadu Buhari’s complaint that Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 will disenfranchise serving political office holders is insensitive.
The governor said if President Buhari truly believes in a transparent election and that everybody should have a level playing ground, he will not be suggesting the amendment of the section which he claims will disenfranchise serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at conventions or congresses of any political party.
Governor Wike stated this in Port Harcourt on Friday while reacting to President Buhari’s assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
He noted that the President’s complaint that Section 84 (12) is ultra vires with the 1999 Constitution as amended is neither here nor there.
“Mr President has told the world he is trying to protect some of his appointees who want to run election, and who are afraid of leaving office knowing fully well that having left the office, it would be difficult for them to assert or to influence the outcome of party primaries.
“If Mr President really believes in free, fair and transparent election, and for everybody to have a level playing ground, Mr President will not call for such amendment.”
Governor Wike observed that President Buhari was unwilling to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law but had to succumb to pressure mounted on him by Nigerians. According to him, if the President had declined assent on the bill, the National Assembly would have been embarrassed and lost public confidence.
“For whatever it is worth, let us say Nigerians are happy that after all is said and done, the President and the APC administration for the first time have bowed to the pressure of Nigerians in order to have a law that enables our electoral process to be transparent. But again, this tells you the kind of party in power.”