Elder Statesman and First Republic Aviation Minister, Chief Mbazulike Amechi, has described President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to sign the electoral act amendment bill as perfectly and patriotically right and high-level patriotism to Nigeria, saying that he totally stands with Mr President on that.
According to Chief Amechi, “The present debate or discussion on the veto of the President on the electoral act amendment bill, I want to add my shrill voice of an old man to it. I think that the President is perfectly and patriotically right in refusing to sign that bill as presented to him by the National Assembly.”
“If it left as the National Assembly has presented it to him to sign, it only favours they, who are already sitting members of the National Assembly, because it is they alone that could garner the known and unknown allowances, a heavy amount of money that is required to run an election under their system they are proposing.
“It denies many the use of the country’s chance to participate in the elective government of their country at any stage at the state or at the federal level.
“The electoral act amendment bill if signed by the President, makes it impossible for the women to take part in such elections because it is very few women that can afford that kind of money the is required to run for such elections, so the only people who can afford that kind of money that is required to run for such offices are the occupants of seats in the National Assembly now because of all sorts of allowances they get, which are known and unknown, seen and unseen allowances.
“So I think it is very unpatriotic for the National Assembly to enact the law, and the President I must say should stand firm to his decision not to sign it, if they vote it in the National Assembly, the world will know that it has happened in that way, that it was not the President that signed it into law, and posterity will judge the people who vetoed it into law.
“In our own time there was no time a legislative body of the government interfered in any way in the political parties getting their candidates, it does not concern them, all that concerns them is that a candidate is nominated by the party and it is really members of the party, not strangers that nominated the candidate.
“So whether a political party nominates their candidates by selection, election, appointment or by favour, it should not concern anybody, it is the party’s internal affairs, I don’t expect it to be something that involves the spending of billions and millions in every election.
“The ways we chose our candidates in those elections during our time was exclusively the right of the political parties and not individual, and we never heard that there was a single case of going to court over party nomination of its candidates, nobody went to court and nobody challenged the party, it never happened at any stage and with anybody, it is only now that they are introducing it because everything is tied up to the money they are making.
“In our own time candidates were selected based on many conditions according to political parties, in my own party, the NCNC, one condition was that you must have been a member of the party for at least three years, two you must be a maximum vote catcher and three you must be up to date in your monthly subscription to the political party, which I doubt these days if something like that happens.
“Once you fulfill these conditions you are qualified to apply to the party for nomination and the party will consider you along with others people, as many as are interested, and they will now come and be elected either at the local government level or the regional level or at federal level. We did not have states in our time.
“So President Muhammadu Buhari has shown patriotism on that matter, and I totally stand with him, his action is not selfish and he will be remembered for that, the action of the President in refusing to sign that bill as it is now is in favour of the people, the public, therefore, it is patriotic action, that is commendable because it favours the public, not the politicians. So in my opinion it is patriotic action.
“Some people may say that he did that because he is not contesting any election again, but to me, that is why he should not be seen or accused of being biased, therefore, that is why he should not be accused of any bias, he is not biased in any way, he is not contesting election again so whatever action he takes now, it is in the public interest because it is not to favour himself or any particular person, but the public. He has done well this time, am one with him on this issue, totally with him.”