Buba Galadima explains why Buhari is afraid to sign Electoral Act Amendment Bill

He believes the president is afraid he won't get enough votes to win re-election next year.

The Chairman of the Reformed All Progressives Congress (RAPC), Buba Galadima

Last week, the president, yet again, rejected the National Assembly's amendment to the nation's electoral act, noting that signing it too close to the 2019 general elections would 'create some uncertainty about the legislation to govern the process'.

He said, "I am declining assent to the Bill principally because I am concerned that passing a new electoral bill this far into the electoral process for the 2018 general elections which commenced under the 2015 Electoral Act, could create some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process. Any real or apparent change to the rules this close to the elections may provide an opportunity for disruption and confusion in respect of which law governs the electoral process."

The president's refusal to sign the bill has given fuel to accusations that he and the APC are planning to rig the 2019 general elections in their favour.

While speaking on Channels Television's Sunday Politics, Galadima reinforced the accusation and said Buhari is not interested in strengthening Nigeria's electoral laws.

He said the president is only interested in protecting himself and his party because he's afraid he won't get enough votes to win re-election at the polls.

He said, "What the president said was just self-protectionism. He's just protecting himself from being flogged at the polls. He's running away from free, fair, transparent and credible election.

"There are two issues they're afraid of. One, the transmission of the result directly from the polling booth to the collection centre.

"Two, the use of the card reader for accreditation because once accreditation is completed, all those that are accredited will be transmitted and the world will know, even before voting, that such number of people are being accredited and the result of the voting cannot be more than the number of people accredited.

"Therefore, there'll be no mago mago or dabaru along the way. This is what the president and his party are afraid of."

Galadima, who's a member of the presidential campaign council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said there's no reason for Buhari to have rejected the bill because it was prepared with the contribution of his legal adviser, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, and the full cooperation of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

"The  Attorney-General of the Federation is the chief legal adviser to the president. If he accepts anything, it should be duty-bound on Mr President to honour and respect the views of his Attorney-General," he said.

2019 presidential election

While next year's election, scheduled for February 16, 2019, is expected to be keenly-contested between President Buhari and Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, they both face competition from other candidates including Donald Duke of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), Obiageli Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), and Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC).

Others are Tope Fasua of the Abundance Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), Eunice Atuejide of the National Interest Party (NIP), Adesina Fagbenro-Byron of the Kowa Party (KP), Chike Ukaegbu of the Advanced Allied Party (AAP), Hamza Al-Mustapha of the People's Party of Nigeria (PPN), Obadiah Mailafia of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), and many more.

79 candidates will contest in the election, the highest number ever in Nigeria's electoral history.

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