After failing in three different attempts made in the year to get the Electoral Bill signed into law (as 2018 Electoral Act) for the conduct of the 2019 general elections, the National Assembly has set machinery in motion for repackaging of a new one.
Announcing the move at a joint sitting of the National Assembly Committees on the Independent National Electoral Commission, Senator Suleiman Nazif (PDP Bauchi North) said the fresh move was necessitated by the failure of the three earlier ones to get presidential assent.
He said: “I know that this committee is in the eye of the storm and Nigerians are desirous and expecting to hear from us.
Here we are again trying to address the Electoral Act for the fourth time.
“Nigerians will recall that there was a first Electoral Act (amendment bill), the second and the third one.
And if we passed this one, it will be the fourth one.
I believe that what we are doing is in the best interest of this country.
It will address all the fears and we will ensure that we equip INEC with what is necessary and what will ensure free and fair elections in 2019.” Though the committee chairman declined to offer explanations on contentious areas to be addressed in the last rejected version of the amendment bill, but he said the committee will explain to Nigerians today via media briefing.
“I will not be in a position right now to address the press, and I don’t think any member of this committee is in a position to address the press.
“We will have to look at what transpired (concerning the bill) in an executive session and tomorrow (today) by 11am, we will call all pressmen and we will tell you in detail what transpired and the position this committee has taken,” he added.
The first version of the bill forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari in February this year, was rejected as a result of introduction of new sequence of election provided for in section 25(1) of the bill.
The second version forwarded to the Presidency in June after removal of the new sequence of elections provisions, was out rightly vetoed by the president by not considering it in any way before it got constitutionally expired on his table on the 26th of July, 2018.
However, the president in his rejection of the third one on the 2nd of this month, explained to the National Assembly via a letter yet to be read, that it was based on some drafting errors that cannot be corrected by him.
President Buhari, in the letter as disclosed by his Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, promised to sign the bill if the identified errors were corrected and forwarded back to him.
Why I dropped presidential ambition for Buhari – Ribadu
By Bode Olagoke, Abuja Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, yesterday said he dumped his presidential ambition of the All Progressives Congress (APC) platform because President Muhammadu Buhari’s good performance.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen in Abuja, Ribadu also lauded the President for allowing Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu to continue in office despite opposition from the National Assembly, saying fighting corruption is the most difficult job to do.
Ribadu, a governorship aspirant in Adamawa APC said: “You can say part of it.
Of course, that is a good reason.
When you agree with a leadership, it is okay that you step aside and allow good things to happen, and I am comfortable with that.
“That is okay.
It is fine if what you have in your heart is honest service.
Any chance is an opportunity for you to do what you can to help your own people; you cannot shy away from that.
I have no issue with that.
“Today, President Buhari is our President and I agree with him totally and I am comfortable with the leadership he is giving this country.
If there is anything under, I can also make my own contribution, I am very much prepared to do so.” Speaking on the non confirmation of the appointment of the EFCC Chairman, Ribadu said “This is sad part of our country.
To even get things done properly and correctly becomes almost impossible.
I don’t see any reason why they will not confirm him and allow him to do the work properly.
I totally agree with the federal government in allowing him to do this work.
“Whatever you can say about Ibrahim Magu, you cannot take away the fact that he is an honest person and a very courageous person.
These are some of the requirements you need in an anti corruption agency.
He is doing extremely well.
“I know him and I know how the place works.
I know this difficult in doing this work for our country.
I am in total agreement with the decision of the federal government to allow him to continue.
It is a matter of courage because fighting corruption is the most difficult job to do.
“It will require all the sacrifice, all the patience and everything that everybody can give for us to make an impact.
We are going the right direction.
It is a tough one, a difficult one, but Nigerians should please go along with it and support it.
If we don’t, the chances are that we will not be able to do anything in this country.” On whether the EFCC was right in investigating accounts of state government and state governors, he said: “I told you earlier that fighting corruption is not easy.
It is not likely that you will please everyone.
You will have to go after people who are in control of government.
“I won’t go to the village and go after somebody for the fun of it.
It has to be people who are in charge and in control and often, they are people in opposition or against.
“When you are fighting corruption, there are targets and the target is often people who are in charge of our own wealth, and if they mismanage it, the agency has a duty to go after them.
But I don’t think that you can do it outside the law.
“There are rules and regulations that govern and determine the way you conduct yourself, as long as you follow it, as long as you are within the permission of the law, I think we must understand that it has to be done.
Look across the world, the issue of fighting corruption is the same thing all over.
People are saying the same thing they are saying in Nigeria.
“We are not different from the rest of the world.
Fighting corruption is the most difficult thing.
It is the most difficult job you can do, especially if you are going to do it with all honesty and with good intentions.
There is no way that you will not be condemned.” On the allegation that corrupt persons were joining the APC for protection, he said, “I don’t think that is the case, but that is the beauty of democracy.
People are entitled to be where they want to be.
“Constitutionally, no one has the right to stop you from belonging to any political party.
It is the fundamental right of individuals to belong where they want to and no one has the right to.” On why he wants to be governor, Ribadu said “I just want to serve.
In Adamawa state, just like many other states in Nigeria deserve better leadership.
We can do better.
We are faced with challenges and difficulties and people will just have to come forward and stand up.
“When you are faced with challenges and problems, people will have to stand up and confront them.
I believe that anybody with something to offer must come forward and I believe I have something to offer.
I believe that I can work honestly and change the way things are, I can run a government that is honest, just, fair and all inclusive