Road to 2023: PDP Governors demands signing of Electoral Amendment Act

From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum has demanded the immediate signing of the Electoral Amendment Act.

The Governors Forum in its meeting which was held for about three hours at the Bayelsa State Government House to review the state of the nation and “rescue the nation from APC misrule” said a delay in signing the amendment would indicate that President Muhammadu Buhari led All Progressives Congress (APC) is not willing to effect electoral reforms before the 2023 elections.

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The communiqué of the meeting was read by the Vice Chairman of the Forum and governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu in the absence of the Forum’s chairman, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, noted that any reservations the President may have on the Electoral Amendment Act can be introduced later.

“The PDP Governors urged Mr President to immediately sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law. Waiting to run out the 30 days is yet another sign of unwillingness by Mr President to give Nigeria a reformed Electoral framework. If there are still misgivings on any aspect of the Bill, Amendments may be introduced at a later stage.”

The Forum while congratulating PDP for winning 43 out of 62 Councillorship positions in the just concluded Abuja Area Council election results noted that “in spite of improvements in the conduct of elections, the Gwagwalada and Abuja Area Council results show that manipulations are still possible.”

It urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to tighten all observed loopholes and further improve the functioning of the BVAS Machine for future elections.

On the recent importation of contaminated fuel into the country, the Forum called for the arrest of perpetrators and reprimanded the Federal Government over its insincerity in the fuel subsidy regime.

“The Governors expressed their displeasure on the issue of contaminated Fuel supplied to Nigerians and urged the government to bring perpetrators to account.

“The Governors frowned at the duplicity, inconsistency; insincerity of the APC led Federal Government on the fuel subsidy regime, which has been badly and corruptly administered. The figures of consumption ascribed to Nigerians appear fictitious and bloated. They called for proper investigation to be conducted on this matter.”

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It also commended the judiciary for its judgment on the Police Trust Fund deductions and expressed displeasure with some policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria akin to that of an alternate government.

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“The Forum welcomed the Court decision on Police Trust Fund deductions from the Federation Account, a suit at the instance of Rivers State and urged the Federal Government to stop similar unconstitutional deductions from the Federation Account.

“In the same vein, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission should expedite action on the new Revenue Allocation formula in such a way as to increase allocation to States and Local Government.

“The Forum once again deplored the way and manner the CBN is being run as an alternate government, indeed, a government within a Government. It is time to streamline its functions and processes to be constitutionally compliant.”

The PDP governors also flayed the lack of transparency in the operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and called on the National Assembly to revisit the issue of devolution of powers in the ongoing Constitutional Review exercise.

“The Forum once again decried the opaque nature of NNPC operations. They called for accountability and reconciliation of NNPC remittances into the federation account.

“As the National Assembly winds down this current phase of the Constitution Review exercise, the Forum urges that they revisit the issue of devolution of more powers to the States and Local Governments.

“This opportunity to rejig the framework for policing and securing Nigeria should not be missed. To this end, the Forum would set up a Panel of Consultants to have a thorough look at the security architecture of Nigeria and make recommendations.

“The Governors also urged the National Assembly to transfer some items from the Exclusive Legislative List to Concurrent List.”

Other PDP governors in attendance include Nyeson Wike (Rivers), Douye Diri(Bayelsa), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa) Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Godwin Obaseki( Edo), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Emmanuel Udom(Akwa Ibom), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi).

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