Buhari refusing to assent Electoral Bill for fear of APC loss in 2023 – Wike

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Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has said President Mohammedu Buhari is afraid that giving assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill would make his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) fail in the 2023 general elections.

Speaking at the inauguration of lecture halls, laboratories and offices of the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences of the Bayelsa Medical University in Yenagoa yesterday, the governor said the inclusion of the compulsory transmission of electoral results electronically in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill was the APC’s greatest fear.

He said: “They are afraid that if INEC in 2023 transmits election results electronically that is the end for them, because they know they will fail.”

Wike wondered why the APC-controlled federal government always seeks excuse to justify their unwillingness to sign into law what will advance the country’s electoral process.

The governor said in 2019, the president declined assent because the compulsory use of the card reader was included, which was seen as capable of dimming their chances of winning the election.

He noted that Buhari also recently declined assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill on the basis that the National Assembly included direct primaries and that a serving minister has to resign before being qualified to contest for election.

Wike said: “Every time this government, this party will find an excuse of not signing the Electoral Act. In 2018 to 2019 when they inserted the card reader in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, Mr president said no, it is too early, I will not sign because they know if they had inserted it (card reader) in 2019 election it would have been difficult for APC to have won.

“Now, we are in 2022, going for 2023, the National Assembly in their wisdom said there must be direct primaries by all the parties, Mr President came and said no, put options. The National Assembly in their wisdom has amended the bill and agreed to what Mr President said.

“Now again, Mr President said I’m in dilemma, I’m consulting. What is the consultation? That there is a clause that says if a minister or a commissioner wants to run for election you have to resign, that is why up  till now Mr President cannot  assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.”

The governor, who stated that these were trivial excuses because in 2015, he resigned as minister, contested and won the governorship of Rivers State, wondered the basis of the claim that the president is consulting or that they are in a dilemma.

He said: “After all, when I was a minister I resigned to run for governorship. I resigned and I won the primaries. So what is this hulabaloo of not resigning and you keep Nigerians fate hanging. Everyday, Nigerians are thinking, what is going to be the future, where are we heading to?”

Wike described as regrettable a situation where nobody does what is good for the citizenry and the country. He also opined that Nigeria does not have a National Assembly that has what it takes to do the right thing for the good of the country.

The governor commended his Bayelsa State counterpart, Senator Douye Diri, for his development strides as it was characteristic of governors elected on the platform of the PDP.

He said while those of the APC were full of excuses and justify their lack of commitment to the wellbeing of their respective states, those of the PDP deplore wisdom and resources to provide infrastructure that improve the life of people in their state.

Wike donated N500 Million towards the completion of the Faculty of Basic Clinical Sciences building project at the Bayelsa Medical University, which is still at DPC, (damp proof course) level.

Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, said his administration had built on the vision of his predecessors in expanding the medical university and increasing the programmes to make it one of the best in the country.

Diri said Governor Wike was invited to perform the inauguration because he had distinguished himself as a lover of medical education and relentlessly provided quality projects in developing.

The vice chancellor of the university, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu, said it had eight academic programmes in the faculty of science and basic medical sciences when it was established in 2018.

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