BY MAX AMUCHIE and SEGUN FATUASE
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chieftain, Chief Olabode George and Director-General of of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), have commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
Speaking with Sundiata Post in Lagos on Friday, Chief George described it as a ‘’ triumph for all Nigerians and for all advocates of genuine representative governance”.
He expressed the hope that the electoral law would free the electoral process from the shackles of godfatherism and pave the way for a smooth democratic process.
‘’This Electoral law is quite significant in many ways. It will forever remove the democratic process from the shackles of godfatherism and money bags who continue to sabotage the will of the people. It will equally reduce a great deal of electoral malpractices through the brazen forging of figures and other manipulative processes that hinder the democratic growth.
‘’The Nigerian democracy is now on the path of liberation and emancipatory importance. The Will of the people will now triumph over the shenanigans of a dirty few. This, no doubt , will deepen our democratic values and ensure the endurance of freedom and liberty. It is indeed a right step in the right direction’’, he said.
The Atona of Yorubaland while applauding the new democratic dawn, with the signing of the Electoral law, also urged President Buhari to work towards the devolution of powers in a manner that would give every citizen a sense of belonging.
According to him, ‘’Nigerians have suffered a lot for this democratic dawn. We must all applaud every opportunity that enhances our collective freedom. The next agenda that needs the attention of President Buhari is the devolution of powers where all sections of our nation will be empowered to develop at its own pace without the overbearing intervention of the centre”.
On his part, Mr. Osita Okechukwu in a statement made available to Sundiata Post on Sunday, said “the coming into force of Electoral Act 2022 marks a significant turning point in Nigeria’s journey towards electoral reforms, reinforced democratic rights, higher voters turnout and consolidation of democracy”. He stressed that by signing the bill into law, the President has given lovers of democracy a booster shot of Vote-Rigging-Vaccine (VRV).
He noted that contrary to insinuations by naysayers, who like Joseph Goebbels of Nazi Germany, kept on telling the big lie and fake news that Buhari would not sign the bill and those who believed them, the President has proved them wrong by endorsing the VRV, a crucial piece of electoral legislation.
Okechukwu, who is also a founding member of All Progressives Congress (APC), said Buhari has bequeathed to Nigerians an Electoral Act that empowers the deployment of the Smart Card Reader, Biometric Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and other technological devices for electoral fidelity.
He stated: “By virtue of the Electoral Act 2022, the VRV offers electronic accreditation and electronic transmission of results. These voters empowerment machine combined to revolutionise free, fair and transparent elections in Nigeria. Electronic Transmission of result is the key element in the Act and will automatically boost voters turn out to 60% in future elections.
“Electronic Transmission (VRV) is the lofty milestone and indeed, comes as one of the progressive legacies of Mr President who, as a victim of vote-rigging has always craved for law instrument that contains progressive provisions to knock out thuggery during accreditation, voting and collation processes.
“By consolidating the power of votes to count and transparently so counted, President Buhari has finally empowered the people to come out in large numbers to choose their leaders without interference of the dreaded Money Bags.”
The DG VON expressed the hope that from henceforth, Nigerians will be less attracted by stomach infrastructure or vote buying and need not protest or demonstrate against misrule, maintaining that with the Vote-Rigging-Vaccine (VRV) strengthened by black ink of the law, Nigerians can now troop out to voting booths on Election Day with confidence that their votes would vote out bad leaders.
He said the battle between leaders and the led over accountability has shifted to the ballot box and social contract strengthened to be honoured; therefore urged Nigerians to always reflect on the remarks by President Buhari when he signed the bill, especially where the President said, “Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, from the review, it is my perspective that the substance of the Bill is both reformative and progressive.
“I am making this bold declaration, because I foresee the great potentials of the Bill. Worthy of note include the democratic efficacy of the Bill with particular reference to sections 3,9(2), 34, 41, 47, 84(9), (10) and (11) among others.”
According to Okechukwu, Mr. President’s statement not only offers hope for a better democratic culture forever in our dear country, but also reinforces our long hope to become truly the giant of Africa.
Okechukwu also appeals to INEC to put its acts together so as to give life to VRV; the ultimate instrument of Voters Empowerment and democratic resurgimento in Nigeria.
For political parties, he cautioned them to beware for Buhari’s VRV is a searchlight on their commitment to internal democracy and building of a united and inclusive country.