A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ighoyota Amori, has advised President Muhamadu Buhari to assent to the Amended Electoral Act to give proper direction for 2019 elections.
Amori, who is the Political Adviser to the National Chairman of PDP, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that the amended Electoral Act was critical to the success of the 2019 elections, noting that delay or refusal to sign it could be view as deliberate act to truncate the country’s democracy.
He said: “It is just months to the elections; how will the political parties and the Independent National Electoral Commission be guided in the elections?
“Till date, the issue of card reader has not been resolved. The Bill, if signed, would have guided the political parties and INEC to prepare for the election.”
Amori stressed the need for the country to be proactive, adding that the delay in the signing of the Bill would also affect voter-education process and outcome of the 2019 elections.
He said that there was limit to the level at which voter education could be done as the Bill on the law to guide the process was yet to be signed.
He said: “All that is being done now is telling people to get their Permanent Voter Cards but nobody knows the extent at which card reader will be used because the amended Electoral Act has not been signed.
“Nobody knows if the bill will be passed or not, or if the president will issue his own guidelines.
“All we know right now is that there is a bill that has been passed and it is before the President. Until he signs it the electorate will not know the content.
“For now, the maximum voter education that can be done is to tell people to go and get PVCs, but the voting pattern is not known yet.”
Amori also said that it was also worrisome that the country was still discussing INEC’s budget few months to the elections.
He said: “The act of presenting the budget late, especially when the National Assembly was due to go on its annual recess is unjustifiable.
“If INEC is to conduct elections in 2019, we are now in August and we are still talking about the budget presentation that INEC submitted to the executive since February.
“We cannot blame the commission for that because INEC was proactive and its timetable has not changed.”
On the defection of the former Governor of Delta, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress, Amori said he had nothing to say but to wish him best of luck in his future endeavours.
Amori, who has also obtained the party’s nomination and expression of interest form to contest in the primary election for Delta Central Senatorial District ticket, expressed optimism that he would be victorious.
He urged his supporters to redouble their efforts, have faith in God and his ability to represent them worthily in the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
He said: “I appeal to my supporters to continue to support me. I am committed to attracting dividends of democracy, not only to my senatorial district but the people of Delta and Nigerians.
“I am fit and capable. I have the wherewithal to represent them adequately in all aspects.
“They should give me their support as they have been doing and be assured that I will not let them down.”
On the issues that characterised the loss of his seat at the Senate to Ovie Omo-Agege, he decried what he called “Nigerian factor’’, saying we saw a serious and blatant misuse of the judiciary.
He said: “In my case, INEC admitted that there was no card reader, but a private person who was not representing INEC appeared in court that he had procured results not announced by INEC. I won at the tribunal.
“It was brazen judicial robbery. This is a country where people who did not contest elections were declared winners at different times.’’
Amori, however, said that he accepted the challenge in good faith, believing that the electorate would reclaim their mandate in 2019.