Refuse assent to the bill amending the electoral law

Politics is defined as the set of activities associated with group decision-making or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources, the adoption of policies, laws and rules. administrative. It is from politics that the adjective “political” is forged. In general, politics is about governance, ideas and assumptions about how society is or should be governed, administering rewards and punishments as well as the allocation of resources to different competing interests. Politics governs everything because it is from political decisions that laws, policies, plans and public budgets are promulgated, implemented, monitored and evaluated as well as reported and audited. Laws and policies cover all facets of human existence, from the cradle to the grave.

Politics as understood in the democratic context is inextricably linked with elections, which are one of the strongest pillars and foundations of governance and government. It is in this perspective that this speech returns to the refusal of the president, the major general Muhammadu Buhari (retired), to give his assent to the bill modifying the electoral law which was recently transmitted to him by the National Assembly. One of the salient points of the bill was to regulate the process of nominating candidates by political parties. The term “political party” designates the vehicles, organizations and associations of the legitimate contestation of power. In Nigeria, no one can run for office without being sponsored by a political party. The independent candidacy is not yet recognized by our laws and our jurisprudence. Without defining a political party, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in S.221 states that: “No association, other than a political party, may solicit votes for a candidate in an election or contribute to the funds of a political party. political party. or the election expenses of any candidate in an election.

Consequently, political parties are vehicles for contesting power and governance. The organization, internal affairs, and manner in which a political party produces candidates who will eventually run for office and one of those candidates will emerge for elected office is therefore a matter of pressing national concern. Over the past 22 years, the law has given political parties carte blanche to choose the most appropriate method of nominating candidates for election. With the exception of a few cases, political parties have chosen to nominate candidates through delegates. This is the indirect method of appointment. Delegates are elected while some are appointed and they usually meet at one location to decide the candidate of the particular political party. From the quality of the candidates and the governance emerging from this delegate system, it is clear that something is fundamentally wrong with the way and the manner in which candidates emerge for political office. Essentially, there is a major flaw in the aspirants isolating the few delegates and luring them in with money and other resources. It was therefore the aspirant with the biggest financial war chest who emerged victorious.

So it was a pleasant departure from the odious norm when the National Assembly approved a new bill amending the electoral law, which mandated direct primaries for the emergence of candidates. The expectation of democracy lovers who witnessed living witnesses to the decay of the system was that the president, who claimed to want to leave a democratic legacy, would quickly align with the provision and give his assent to the bill. But the president had other ideas. It was also clear that governors who systematically manipulated the system as so-called state-level party leaders opposed direct primaries and wanted to continue to dominate the nomination process. For the avoidance of doubt, no one runs as a candidate for the Senate, House of Representatives, State House of Assembly, or even Councilor without being in the right books and in the roster of Governor. They also determine which presidential candidate their state will support. Essentially, governors have become immovable engines.

So when President Buhari sought advice from the Independent National Electoral Commission, which is the constitutional arbiter of elections, and INEC indicated that it had no problem with direct primaries, Democrats s ‘were expecting the president to approve the same. The political parties’ argument that it will cost a lot of new resources was a very unreasonable argument. All that is needed to run direct primaries is a clean and verified membership register. It does not need to be organized like the typical elections organized by INEC to take place in one day. This could be done over a period of days or weeks manually and electronically at constituency and local government offices by party officials without involving the hiring or payment of special election staff. But parties and governors have other ideas, not in tandem with the desire of the majority, that Nigeria be removed from the list of nations that sadly hold primaries and mock elections and obviously reap the dividends of underdevelopment. . Even some political parties were so brazen that they claimed that they did not have a clean register of their members.

President Buhari had the opportunity, during the consideration of the bill in the National Assembly, to convey his views to NASS. As usual, he decided to stay away. When the bill came to him for sanction, he treated it with contempt and left the sanction declining until the last hour when he learned lawmakers were going on their Christmas and New Years recess. He had already made his decision the same day he received the invoice and did not need to wait until the last day. It should be recalled that this is the fifth time that the President has invoked specious reasons for rejecting the assent to the amendment of the electoral law (2010) as amended. The various denials of assent results in billions of naira in wasted hours and other resources spent by NASS and it seems our President takes particular pleasure in the waste of resources.

It is safe to say that the strength, character, nature and quality of political parties and the electoral law in force have a decisive effect on the functioning and quality of a democracy. This is especially true in democracies like Nigeria, where independent candidates are not allowed to stand for election. Essentially, political parties are supposed to design a democratic process for recruiting and nominating candidates for election. However, Nigerian political parties and many elected officials do not believe in democratic standards. They believe in manipulation, rigging and consensus to impose candidates when the actors were not allowed to agree on a consensus.

The National Assembly is therefore called upon, at the resumption in mid-January 2022, to write their names in gold by overriding the presidential veto. The president and governors should not be allowed to hold back the march of civilization. There should be no excuse to keep playing with any public official, no matter how high up, whose ideas and worldview clearly hold back the development, strengthening of democracy and good governance in the country. Nigeria. These people belong to our infamous past and should be thrown in the trash of our history.

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