Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Sunday, accused President Muhammadu Buhari of being the biggest threat to Nigeria’s democracy over alleged failure to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill within 30 days.
The CSOs made the allegation in a statement signed by Executive Director, Adopt A Goal Initiative, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, and endorsed by Convener, Raising New Voices Initiative, Jude Feranmi; Programme Officer, Center For Liberty, Maryam Ahmed; Convener, Speak Out Africa Initiative Kenneth Eze; Executive Director, The Nigerian Alliance, Simi Olusola; and Executive Director, Youth and Students Advocates for Development Initiative (YSAD), Obinna Eze Nwagbara.
According to the statement, the President’s delay in signing the bill has created unpalatable suspense and generated avoidable apprehension, but his inaction may not be the final call after December 19.
The statement reads in part, “It has come to the point where we must tell President Buhari in unmistaken terms that his failure to sign the bill within the 30 days window has exposed him as the biggest threat to the fourth democratic republic, having failed to perform a similar responsibility four times in his first term.
“President Buhari benefitted significantly from some of the electoral reforms initiated by Yar’Adua and signed by Jonathan; if he fails to sign the amended electoral act, History will record him as a major impediment to electoral credibility and governance.
“This is a low hanging lifetime opportunity for the President to salvage his terrible electoral credential”.
The CSOs vowed to storm the National Assembly with protest on Monday to press for it to override the President in the interest of Nigerians to pass the Bill into law.
“There is a constitutional window opened to the National Assembly to recall the bill and give it the effect of law with a two-thirds number.
“From Monday morning, we will turn to the National Assembly to act in the national interest and pass the bill expeditiously before they embark on the Christmas recess.
“Consequently, the next step is for us as CSOs to take our advocacy to the National Assembly to step in, exhibit courage, recall the bill and ensure they override the President with an accelerated passage before Christmas”, it added.
The statement further read, “The 9th National Assembly has deferred too much to President Buhari almost to the point of ridicule, so if the President does not respect and reciprocate this gesture, history will be kind to them if they override the President and salvage their own political future.
“This will not be the first time in the last 20 years that the National Assembly will override the President; the 4th legislative session did so and got the NDDC Act passed and operational. The 9th National Assembly has the opportunity of not sharing with the executive the glory that will accompany the new act.”