From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has cautioned the National Assembly (NASS) against seeing the amendment of the electoral act as personal to them and their political future, saying those in the National Assembly now might be at the receiving end of whatever they do or fail to do.
Fayose, in a statement made available Daily Sun on Sunday, noted that issues of electronic transmission of results and imposition of any particular method of conducting primary elections on political parties should be accorded a second look by the National Assembly.
The former governor said : “If the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is saying that it has capacity to transmit results electronically anywhere in Nigeria, what then is the NASS afraid of? Why is the NASS presenting itself before Nigerians as a clog in the wheel of free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria?
“Most importantly, if Point Of Sale (POS) machine is being used for financial transactions everywhere in the country, why can’t we also have an electoral process in which voters will be accredited strictly with card readers and results will be transmitted electronically from the polling units?”
Fayose, who said the NASS should not turn political parties into appendages of INEC, added that “telling political parties how to conduct their primary elections to pick their candidates by stipulating who among members of the parties can elect candidates amounts to taking over the powers of the parties to run their own affairs.”
He pointed out that political parties are founded on different ideologies and beliefs, saying it should be the duty of the parties to conduct its affairs in accordance with their own constitutions.
The former governor counseled that political parties, should be allowed to decide whether to use direct or indirect method of conducting primaries as well as those who should vote in such primaries.
“The NASS members should not allow their personal interests to drag the country’s democracy into a hitch because if care is not taken, we will be having many court cases in our hands concerning the electoral act, thereby putting the 2023 general elections in jeopardy.
“We are already in economic crisis, the NASS should be mindful of creating another political crisis by using their position for self-preservation instead of serving the interest of Nigeria and its people.
“The NASS should also avoid playing into the hands of the president, bearing in mind that the same President refused to sign amendments to the electoral act in the past,” Fayose said.