By Ezeocha Nzeh
Following the refusal of President Muhammadu to assent to the National Assembly amended Electoral Act Bill (Section 25), which affected the the 2019 election sequence as released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday, t he United Progressive Party (UPP) has expressed its disappointed and indeed dismay at the President’s decision.
The party, in a statement issued Tuesday by its National Chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie, therefore urged the National Assembly to implore its constitutional powers to veto the Bill which it described as the best option for a true democracy in the country.
“UPP regretted that President Buhari has defied all logic to decline assent to the Electoral Bill remitted to him by the National Assembly, mainly because of his disagreement with the order of elections which put presidential election last for the 2019 general elections and beyond.
“His withholding assent to this bill smacks of fear of losing the 2019 Presidential Election as well as the fear of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) not benefitting from the bandwagon effect of a possible early victory if the presidential election comes first.
“The order of election as contained in the Electoral Bill will not only guarantee a sustained mass participation in the elections until the presidential election is conducted. It will also ensure that candidates of various political parties will win elections essentially on their personal merit and the popularity of the manifesto of their political parties which will be canvassed in the campaigns leading to the elections” UPP noted.
The party, which, chided both the All Progressives Congress and President Buhari further noted “if the APC and President Buhari were confident that the record of their performance was impressive as they have often claimed, there should be no reason why this fear of losing the 2019 elections should be expressed in the manner of withholding assent to a bill that holds very strong promise to deepen the country’s democracy”.