A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Dan Orbih, has charged politicians to play by the rules now that the Amended Electoral Act has been signed into law.
Orbih, National Vice-Chairman, PDP South-South, said in Benin on Sunday that it was the political actors that would determine whether or not the Act would impact on the 2023 general elections.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that “there is no Constitution that is totally bad.
“It is the operators that can be bad. The same applies to the Electoral Act when you think about it positively or negatively.
“What is important actually is the politicians; the political actors. They must learn to play by the rules.’’
The PDP stalwart stressed that it was not what was in the Act that would determine the behaviour of people.
“We have a whole lot that must be done by political actors themselves.
“They must learn to take defeat in good faith. They must allow the process to take its course. Nobody should make any attempt to interfere with due process in the conduct of the elections,’’ he said.
The PDP leader added that apart from signing the Electoral Act into law, the president should ensure adequate security of lives and property during and after elections.
Orbih also told NAN that the president must ensure that elections are conducted under very peaceful and secure atmosphere and equally ensure continuous improvement in the economy.
President Muhammadu Buhari signed the amended Electoral Act into law on Feb. 25.
In a related development, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo, Mr Peter Esele, on Sunday in Benin advocated permanent, irreversible dates for elections in the nation’s calendar.
Esele, one-time governorship aspirant in Edo and former President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, said like Independence Day, marked every Oct. 1, election dates should be made permanent.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that it was wrong of INEC to tinker with election dates and fixing them indiscriminately.
INEC rolled out a new timetable for the 2023 general elections on Feb. 26; hours after President Muhammadu Buhari signed a long-awaited Amended Electoral Bill into law.
INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, announced in the timetable that Presidential and National Assembly elections would take place on Feb. 25, 2023, instead of Feb. 18 announced earlier by the Commission.
Reacting to the new date, Esele declared: “we can’t be having elections dates tampered with. No.
“If we have fixed dates, then political parties will also follow suit concerning delegates’ conferences and primaries.
“In other parts of the world, these things are fixed. You don’t dilly-dally or tinker with such dates.
“Everyone works and plans with such dates.
“When you start playing with dates, you create room for distrust; you create room for lack of transparency and also manipulation of the process.
“INEC should move beyond dropping and changing dates.’’
Esele also commending Buhari for signing the Electoral Act as amended into law and stressed that INEC should regard the new Act as an opportunity to improve on its processes.
He noted that areas of contentions had been addressed.
“I think gradually with the Electoral Act, we are raising the bar for a fair electoral process.
“Hopefully, we will no longer have cases in court for years and courts will no longer decide our elections,’’ he said.
Speaking on amendments to the Constitution at the National Assembly, Esele opined that personal interests were involved.
He decried any attempt by the National Assembly to include immunity clause for its principals in the Constitution as enjoyed by presidents, governors and their deputies.
Esele said while the Executive has fixed tenure of maximum of eight years at a stretch, lawmakers could remain in office for as long as they kept winning elections and should, therefore, not be entitled to Constitutional immunity.
By Deborah Coker (NAN)