Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said President Muhammadu Buhari is afraid that giving assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill will make his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) fail in the 2023 general election.
Governor Wike made the assertion at the inauguration of lecture halls, laboratories and offices of the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences of the Bayelsa Medical University in Yenagoa yesterday.
The governor pointed to the inclusion of the compulsory transmission of electoral results electronically in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill is now APC’s greatest fear.
“They are afraid that if INEC in 2023 transmits election results electronically that is the end of them, because they know they will fail.”
Governor Wike wondered why the APC-controlled Federal Government always seeks excuse to justify their unwillingness to sign into law what would advance the country’s electoral process.
He explained that in 2019, the president declined assent because the compulsory use of the card reader was included, which was seen as capable of dimming their chance of winning the election.
Again, Governor Wike noted that the president also recently declined assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill on the basis that the National Assembly included direct primaries and that a serving minister has to resign before being qualified to contest for election.
“Every time this government, this party will find an excuse of not signing an Electoral Act. In 2018 to 2019 when they inserted the card reader in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, Mr. President said no, ‘it is too early; I will not sign,’ because they know if they had inserted it (card reader) in 2019 election, it would have been difficult for APC to win.
“Now, we are in 2022, going for 2023, the National Assembly in their wisdom said there must be direct primaries by all the parties. Mr President came and said no, put options. National Assembly in their wisdom has amended the bill and agreed to what Mr President said.
“Now again, Mr President said ‘I’m in dilemma, I’m consulting.’ What is the consultation? That there is a clause that says if a minister or a commissioner wants to run for election, you have to resign? That is why up till now Mr President cannot assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.”
He said these are trivial excuses because in 2015, he resigned as minister, contested and won the governorship of Rivers State.