The question has been repeated in many circles: Will President Muhammadu Buhari sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill?
Some opinion moulders say they have many reasons to remain concerned. Many have said privately that Nigerians must remain alert; continue to encourage Buhari to do the right thing; which is to sign the bill this time around, when it gets back to his desk.
These fresh concerns are being raised despite the evident moves by Nigeria’s Senate and the House of Representatives to act swiftly on the controversial issue of direct primaries.
In fact the Senate Wednesday re-enacted the Electoral Bill including the indirect primaries and consensus. Senate President Ahmed Lawan had given assurances that the Senate would act as required.
Similarly,Speaker House of Representatives on Tuesday gave assurances that Reps would act on the Electoral Bill.
Clearly what is unfolding is in line with the modus operandi of the present National Assembly.They (at least, the leadership) are often careful not to hurt President Buhari.
Evidently, this approach has earned the leadership rare commendations from the President.
As things stand the National Assembly will conceded and include the three options direct, indirect and consensus modes of primaries, which Buhari spoke vehemently about recently.
Will the President Sign?
He should sign when it is reenacted.Many insiders believe the President wants to sign.
However, there are those who fear that some politicians are not comfortable still with the Bill.And there is the fear that such politicians may mount pressure on the President to still withdraw his assent.
The issue still remains about “winning” 2023 elections
Some insiders fear that politicians are not comfortable with the electronic transmission of result and they may therefore not encourage the President to sign.
“I think some politicians want to rig the 2023 election and they are still not comfortable with the notion of electronic transmission of results”, one of insiders said privately.But the President is not interested in rigging, his supporters have insisted repeatedly.
And from all indications, INEC under Professor Mahmood Yakubu appears determined to ensure credible elections in 2023.That is what Yakubu’s body language seems to portray.
Activists have therefore been of late urging members of the public to keep piling pressure in terms of repeated calls on the President to sign the bill.
Buhari’s Promise as Ray of Hope
Despite, the concerns, Modus Operamdum recalls that President Buhari’s assurances that he will conduct transparent and credible elections in 2023 remain the main source of confidence among his supporters and Nigerians at large.Many are of the hope that he will go ahead and sign the Electoral Bill to ensure a resounding legacy for him in the annals of Nigeria’s electoral, even democratic history.