The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay, has thrown his weight behind the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to withhold his assent to the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill passed by the National Assembly Specifically, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said the introduction of “direct primary” clause, amounted to throwing a “bomb” into the commendable bill.
The professor of law, who made the position in a telephone interview with New Telegraph, advised the parliamentarians to expunge the provision for direct primaries, assuring that the president will sign the contentious bill once that was done “This is what I find about Nigerians. They will have a head mentality. Everybody will have to go in one direction without thinking.
“This bill was mainly about updating our electoral system; bringing in electronics in updating results, and possibly towards a future of voting electronically. “That was the main thing, and of course…that new system for identifying voters, before you actually vote…those are very good. “And we were all looking up to it.
Then, in last minute, some people, who think they are very smart, who like to be clever, at the expense of the nation, just threw a bomb into it, saying there has to be direct primaries all over the country. “Suddenly, compulsorily direct primaries; whether it is suitable for the parties. No discretion anymore, saying ‘by force’, there has to be direct primaries,” Sagay said He noted that: “Whether we have capacity to conduct it, whether it will end in chaos, or not; just like that.
“Those are the people who caused the problem. “People in the Senate and House of Representatives, who decided to throw in that bomb in the last minute. “So, the President is absolutely right, and I support him in refusing to sign this bill, without a direct primary clause embedded in it.
“So, all they have to do is to remove it, and then, it will go through the process again, and then submit it back to the President, without that clause. And then, I’m sure he will sign it (the electoral act amendment bill)”. Asked if the National Assembly, as presently constituted, has the capacity to override the President’s veto, the professor of law, said: “There you go again, how does the issue of override… Is it for fun that you override? “You must have a good reason. You must have a reason for overriding. That is the point.
“They have no good reason; absolutely no good reason. “Because, what they want to include in it, will destroy the whole of that bill. “So, of course, every National Assembly; there is provision for overriding. “That issue does not arise at this stage. That is the point.”