Saturday, May 28, 2022

Electoral Act: How Buhari became ‘Darling’ of oppositions, pressure groups, others

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The Friday’s signing of the long-awaited Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2022 into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, in the week under review, has continued to attract encomiums and positive comments from political actors including oppositions in favour of the president.

The president has also won the ‘hearts’ of the socio-political organisations including the Ohanaeze Ndigbo; Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, and the Middle Belt Forum, MBF, following the signing of the bill.

Also the Inter-party Advisory Council, IPAC, which is the umbrella body
of all the registered political parties in Nigeria, described the signing of the bill as a big achievement for the 2023 general elections.

According to IPAC,  with the signing of the bill, Buhari has improved the electoral legal framework for the country.

While signing the bill on Friday,  Buhari, however, highlighted the need to amend section 84(12), which contravenes the rights of political office holders to vote, or be voted for in political party conventions and congresses.

According to him,  the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2022, passed by the National Assembly holds a lot of promises for improving the election processes with a lasting legacy to the country.

Following the signing of the bill by the president, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Saturday announced the shifting of the presidential and National Assembly elections from Feb. 18 to Feb. 25, 2023.

The governorship elections was also shifted to March 11, 2023 from Feb. 24, 2023.

President Buhari had earlier paid a 2-day official visit to Nasarawa State on Thursday where he lauded the State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, for complementing the efforts of the Federal Government in the provision of infrastructure in the state.

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While in the state,  the president inaugurated the Lafia Airport, Modern Bus Terminal, Vocational and Skills Acquisition Centre, and the Shinge-Barkini Abdullahi-Kilema road, executed by the state government.

The Federal Government projects inaugurated by the president on the first day of his visit were the 330kva Power Substation and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, building in Lafia.

Also at the palace of Emir of Lafia, retired Justice Sidi Muhammad 1, in Lafia, Nasarawa State, on Thursday, the Nigerian leader was quoted as saying, ”leaders who take the oath of office, swearing with the Holy Book, must be careful not to abuse the trust of leadership placed on them by the people and God.”

According to the president, he has no intention whatsoever to stay beyond the constitutionally recognised two terms of office as leader of Nigeria.

The President had on Feb. 13 swore in six National Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

The event preceded the commencement of the virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, held at the Council Chamber, State House, Abuja.

The affected national commissioners were Malam Mohammed Haruna (Niger), May Agbamuche-Mbu (Delta), Ukaegbu Nnamdi (Abia), retird Maj.-Gen. Abubakar Alkali (Adamawa), Prof. Rhoda Gumus (Bayelsa) and Mr Sam Olumekun (Ondo).

The president also presided over the virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, on Wednesday.

The Council approved N56.3 billion for the completion of the Abaji-Koton Karfe section of the Abuja-Lokoja highway and N2 billion for the purchase of cattle to boost animal production in Taraba.

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The Council which was updated on the recent results of the 2021 fourth quarter GDP released by the National Bureau of Statistics, also approved the revised science, technology and innovation policy for the country

The president immediately after the FEC meeting hosted Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The governor was accompanied on the visit by his wife, Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano.

NAN gathered that Obiano, who would be handing over the mantle of leadership of the state to his successor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, on March 17, was on a farewell visit to the president.

The governor’s wife also paid a similar visit to the First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari.

Obiano will be completing his second term of four years in March.

President Buhari had also met members of the Progressives Governors Forum (governors of the All Progressives Congress) on Tuesday in Abuja.

Their chairman, Kebbi State’s Gov. Atiku Bagudu, who spoke on the outcome of the meeting, said the president advised that the party should explore the option of consensus while electing its officials at the forthcoming national convention.

He told newsmen that consensus had worked for the APC in the past as many chairmen of the party emerged through that process.

The Nigerian leader also hosted his Ghanaian counterpart, Nana Addo-Akufo, behind closed door in Abuja on Feb. 22.
.

The agenda of the meeting was not made public.

NAN gathered, however, that the two leaders discussed some sub-regional issues bordering on security and socio-political developments in ECOWAS member states.

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Also on Feb. 22, the President hosted a delegation from Kaduna State led by the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Ahmed Bamalli, and  Kaduna State Deputy Governor, Hadiza Balarabe.

The president received in audience the Gavi Alliance High Level Mission to Nigeria led by Dr Seth Berkley, Chief Executive Officer of The Gavi Alliance and members of the Gavi Alliance, at the State House, Abuja, on Friday.

According to him, steady progress is being made in achieving the targets set out in Nigeria’s Strategy for Immunization and Primary Health Care System Strengthening.

This, he said, could be seen from the preliminary reports showing that coverage for the third dose of the pentavalent vaccine increased from 33 per cent in 2017 to 63 per cent in 2019.

Mr Buhari, who commenced the week under review with an  appeal to nations, institutions and bodies, both private and public, to return Nigeria’s artefacts in their possession, ended it applauding BUA Group for its strides in narrowing the gap between demand and supply of cement in the country.

The president spoke at the State House, Abuja, while receiving a delegation from BUA Group, led by the Chairman, Abdul-Samad Rabiu, which was on a thank you visit, on Feb. 25.

Mr Buhari had in January visited Sokoto to inaugurate the Line 4 of BUA Cement, which would ensure further availability of cement, of which Nigeria suffers about three million tonnes deficit.

NAN

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