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ASO ROCK WATCH… Electoral Act: The more you look, the less you see! Two other talking points



Nigerians woke up December 21 to the most dominant story of President Muhammadu Buhari refusing to assent to the 2021 Electoral Act Amendment bill.

The refusal has, expectedly, sparked diverse reactions but did President Buhari disposition come as a total surprise? We have two other stories from the presidency to tickle your fancy. Enjoy!

The more you look….

On December 20, Buhari rejected the Electoral Act Amendment Bill. In a letter sent to the Senate, he had asked the National Assembly to remove the much disputed clause on direct primaries from the bill.

Buhari’s rejection did not come as a surprise, especially to those who had followed events prior to the rejection. For instance, Femi Adesina, his media aide, had, on December 7, argued that it would not matter if the President assents to the bill, or not.

Besides, on December 19, the Attorney-General of the Federation, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, hinted that the President had been advised, and has the right to whatever he wants with the bill.

For any casual observer, these remarks from top presidency aides were suggestive enough; that he would decline assent.

The President may just have played into the camp of those who strongly argue that he is acting out a script well crafted to favour the interest of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

And, this is as it is also speculated that he may have caved in to the intense pressure from APC governors who, reportedly, have never hidden their disgust of direct party primaries as canvassed by Nigerian lawmakers at the centre.

As argued elsewhere, Buhari may have also given himself away to critics as the current intrigues playing out appear similar to his action plan prior to the 2019 general elections where he shocked many with his rejection of the electoral bill, claiming that signing it too close to the conduct of elections could breed controversies.

Sadly, the emerging signals do suggest that the forthcoming 2023 polls may not be as transparent as many had hoped, with the heavy politics being played around the Electoral Act.

With the bill back in the arms of the legislature, it is left to be seen if they would stand up to Mr President or refuse to be browbeaten by overriding his decision.

All told, there is a clear evidence of politricks all over the place, as the political class work to consign Nigerians to a position of the-more-you-look, the-less-you-see.

Two other stories

Persistent lame excuses

On December 12, President Buhari’s media aide, Garba Shehu, in a statement, said, among others: “The growing instability, and violence in the North of Nigeria and elsewhere is unacceptable…Above all, he wishes to reassure…all Nigerians – that tackling the scourge of banditry and terrorism remains this government’s first priority.”

The presidency’s notoriety for advancing lame excuses seems to have become legendary. Its response to a national editorial in which it held that the content was lurid did not, therefore, come as a total surprise.

Read also: ASO ROCK WATCH: Buhari’s 2023 assurances. Two other talking points

The Buhari administration must admit the obvious, that most Northerners, including other Nigerians from the South, are fed up with the government’s response to challenges of insecurity.

Rather than dissipate energy fighting imaginary enemies, the administration may do well to create a fertile ground for constructive engagement of its citizens.

Osinbajo’s call


On December 13, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo urged Federal Government agencies to ensure that obstacles to smooth operation of businesses in the country were removed.

According to a statement by his media aide, Laolu Akande, the Vice President was quoted as saying, “Practically every Nigerian has some kind of business, as they say, some ‘hustle’ or some other things that they are doing. People need the right environment that is what our role is, to ensure that we understand that it is to facilitate and make it easier, not to become a stumbling block or a tollgate.”

Osinbajo’s call is an admittance that the government in which he serves may not have done enough, viewed against the various policies it had in enunciated in the past, to create the enabling environment for ease of doing business.

The onus, if the administration is sincere, lies in setting a well defined agenda, with a clear roadmap and timelines for the implementation of the pro-business policy.

Until this is done, promises of performance is an illusion.

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