The Presidential candidate of People’s Trust (PT), Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), of playing politics with the nation’s stability through their handling of the Electoral Act.
Olawepo-Hashim, speaking on the heels of Buhari’s refusal to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill said the president had shown he does not want a free and fair election.
He said this at an interactive session with newsmen in Lagos.
He regretted that since what he called the “garrison” election in Osun state and the unfortunate decline of assent to the electoral act, the APC has been trying to spread fear in the hearts of would-be voters that their votes will not count.
The presidential candidate further called on the electorate and Nigerians not to be discouraged from participating in the next polls as a result of the shenanigans of APC and PDP.
Olawepo-Hashim said: “The president is conducting himself like a typical Nigerian politician of the era of political decline, rather than behaving as a patriot that I have always thought he is.
“By his actions, he is simply saying let me benefit from the fraudulent process for my 2019 bid. You can push for the new law in 2023 when I will not be contesting.
“He said it is regrettable that with the spiralling poverty in the land, insurgency by Boko Haram, violence in the North East and North West, incipient Shite rebellion due to high handedness, massive insecurity and bloodletting in various states, Nigeria may be damaged beyond redemption in four years, should we all succumb to the plot for the APC to hand themselves a fresh term through a faulty process.
“In the task of nation building, political leaders sometimes have to rise above the fray and take decisions in the national interest, even when it does not seem to benefit from it. Some of us did this before.
“In 2000, when some of our colleagues wanted to change our two year tenure to four years, I led the opposition to this, even though I would have been a beneficiary of that exercise as a National Executive Committee, NEC, member.
“We are a party for the people and we shall stand by them all the time.
“The path of honour is for the president to commit himself to a transparent poll and ensure and ignore the counsel of palace courtiers and political war mongers intent on moving the country in the path of further destruction, God forbid.
“Next year is Nigeria’s hour of glory, and we will not allow anyone to prevent the glory of God from shinning on the nation. We have come a long way as a nation and Nigeria is no longer an entity that can be towed with, especially with the level of sacrifices our people have made”, he said.
Buhari had for the third time withheld his assent to the bill.
This was disclosed by his Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang.
Buhari in a letter transmitted to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara dated December 6, 2018, published by his Personal Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, on Saturday via Twitter, explained that passing the bill could cause “some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process.”
The letter read partly: “Pursuant to Section 58(4) of the constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), I hereby convey to the House of Representatives my decision on 6th December 2018 to decline Presidential Assent to the Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 2018 recently passed by the National Assembly.
“I am declining assent to the Bill principally because I am concern that passing the new electoral bill this far into the electoral process for the 2019 general elections which commenced under the 2015 Electoral Act could create some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process.
“Any real or apparent change to the rule this close to the election may provide an opportunity for disruption and confusion in respect of which law governs the electoral process.”