An exchange of words occurred yesterday between the Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar presidential campaigns over alleged plans to rig the forthcoming 2019 elections with mutual accusations of paying lip service to a reinforced Electoral Act.
Three presidential candidates took a stand and launched a judicial process to stop President Buhari from signing the Electoral Act amendment bill.
The accusations followed the continued procrastination on a presidential assent to the amended Electoral Act. The bill passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly gives a legal framework to the use of the card reader and electronic transmission of votes across the country. The reworked bill was forwarded to the president for assent about two weeks ago.
The two campaigns yesterday were locked in an exchange of words on the issue with the two claiming the moral high ground.
Meanwhile Comrade Timi Frank, a former deputy national publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday called on the United Nations, European Union and the General Abdulsalami Abubakar National Peace Committee to urge President Buhari to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill for the purpose of enthroning a strong framework to guide the election.
Alhaji Shitu Mohammed Kabir the presidential candidate of the Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance, APDA, joined by the presidential candidates of the Allied Peoples Mandate (APM) and the Movement for Restoration and Defence of Democracy, (MRDD) yesterday said that signing the Bill would truncate the 2019 General Election.
Speaking with journalists yesterday in Abuja after filing the process on behalf of his clients, counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr Dapo Otitoju said they were asking the court to determine whether the president could proceed to sign the bill when there was no more adequate time for the manifestation of the proposed Act.
Dismissing insinuations of Buhari’s hesitance to sign the Electoral Act amendment bill, spokesman of the Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN told Vanguard yesterday that Buhari and the APC were before the 2015 election the strongest supporters of the card reader which has now turned into the central issue in the debate.
He accused the PDP and the Atiku Campaign of supporting what he alleged as a plot by the National Assembly to remove the card reader from the penultimate bill that was sent to the president.