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Sign electoral bill now, Saraki to Buhari

***Conduct free, fair elections or else… PDP warns INEC, security agents

Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the 2018 Electoral Bill and not heed the advice of alleged anti-democratic elements. Saraki, in a statement issued in Ilorin, Kwara State, by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, urged the president to rise above petty politics and act without further delay; in the best interest of the country and democracy by signing the electoral bill into law.

Saraki noted that he had been inundated with telephone calls and discussions by members of the National Assembly who expressed concern about the delay in the signing into law, of the new electoral bill, as the one month period provided by the law for the president to sign a bill presented to him by the National Assembly is about to expire in the next few days.

“It is the prerogative of the president to either sign a bill into law or refuse it assent. He is free to exercise this prerogative the way he likes in this case. What I found surprising is a situation where some people now want to adopt a wrong tactic of abusing the court process to stall the matter. That will be unacceptable and I am sure our Judiciary will rely on the lessons from the past and not allow itself to be used.

“We do not want the president to allow the setting of a bad precedent where somebody would go to court, in future, to stop the passage of an appropriation bill or any essential law which will be important to the development of the country.

“My position remains that the president, his aides, the entire country and the international community are aware that all the concerns raised by the president, on the last three occasions he withheld assent to the bill, have been addressed by the Legislature. We bent backwards on each occasion to accommodate the wishes of the president. We started work on this law since 2016 to prevent a situation where it would become part of the election controversies.

“The president should know that the survival of democracy, its development and the future of Nigeria are far more important than the ambition of any individual or party. I am seizing this opportunity to call on president Muhammadu Buhari to put a stop to this uncertainty in the political process by signing, without delay, the 2018 electoral bill, so as to allow Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the concerned parties know how to prepare for a credible process,” Saraki stated.

Earlier, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) warned INEC to conduct free, fair and credible elections in 2019 or incur the wrath of Nigerians.

PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus said this in Ilorin, yesterday, during the North Central presidential rally of the PDP candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

“Let us warn the INEC chair that he should not cause crisis in Nigeria by rigging 2019 elections. If INEC wants peace in Nigeria elections must be free and fair. If INEC likes, it should ignore the card reader, manipulate the machines or do whatsoever INEC wants to do but Nigerians will not accept rigged elections. So, you better be warned.

On his part, Atiku said the All Progressives Congress-led government has let Nigerians down through non performance.

He said: “We have listened to the failures of the APC government since 2015 till date. There is nothing they have not promised us. They promised security and they failed. They promised jobs, they failed. They promised to improve the economy upon what PDP has achieved, they failed. Whatever they promised they failed. It is time for you people to return the country to PDP because the best years of thiscountry were when the PDP was governing our country from 1999 to 2014…”

Saraki lamented that the insecurity situation in the country has degenerated, especially in the North Central and North West states.

He added that Nigeria’s corruption ratings by international organisations has plummeted.

Earlier, Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed said the state is wholly PDP.

“Kwara state goes where Nigerians go. Kwara and indeed, the whole Nigeria area are ready for the next president of Nigeria in person of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Kwara state, as you can see, from the turnout today (yesterday), is without question, a PDP state.

“We are fully ‘Atikulated’ and come February 2019, we will fully deliver Kwara state to PDP.

“For us the 2019 election is a clear choice between the PDP, and the other party…”

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