The Edo State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party on Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the 2015 Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law before the state governorship election, scheduled for August.
The Publicity Secretary of the party in Edo State, Chris Nehikhare, made the call at a news conference in Benin after leading a rally to protest the recent Supreme Court judgment on the Imo State governorship election.
Nehikhare noted that based on extant amendments to the electoral law of 2015, Nigerians and Edo people in particular were in agreement that when effected, the law would ensure free and fair elections nationwide.
He said it was in view of this that the PDP resolved to call on the President to sign the amendment bill to avail Nigerians an opportunity to enjoy universal adult suffrage as guaranteed by the UN Declaration on Human Rights.
He said: “We believe that only the people should be empowered to elect their leaders.
“Legalising the card reader will eliminate absurd judgments where votes recorded surpass number of accredited voters and then the law will turn a blind eye to this obvious anomaly.”
The publicity secretary lamented that the outcome of stand-alone and general elections in Nigeria had remained dangerous and worrisome.
He argued that in spite of efforts being made by civil society, electoral monitors and political parties to ensure free and fair elections, there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel.
The spokesman warned that the judiciary should not allow itself to become a rubber stamp of the executive, for democracy to thrive in the country.
He added: “The Edo chapter of the PDP is calling on the Supreme Court to reconvene and review the ruling on the Imo State governorship election, which was ruled in favour of Hope Uzodinma, who came fourth in the figures released by the Independent National Electoral Commission.”
He said further that the protest was aimed at reinforcing previous protests in parts of the country which rejected the Supreme Court ruling in the Imo governorship election.
He said: “The Imo State ruling is a clear misuse of judicial authority and a usurpation of the statutory duties of INEC.
“Article 27 of the Declaration on Human Rights, adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly on the December 10, 1948 recognises the integral role that transparent and open elections play in ensuring fundamental rights to participatory government.
“To this end, Nigerians have suffered undue hardship during elections because the processes from the ballot box to the tribunal rulings are subject to manipulation and shrouded in secrecy and controversy.
“It is critical, therefore, to bring the attention of the Federal Government and governments of the US, UK, Germany, France, China and other members of the UN General Assembly that elections in Nigeria should be made credible, free, transparent and fair.
“There is a clear and present danger to the survival of democracy in Nigeria if the electoral laws and processes are not reviewed, to suit transparent and open processes.”