NBA President Laments Delay In Passing Electoral Bill


President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Olumide Akpata,has expressed his disappointment on how the electoral bill that is meant to advance the country is yet to be passed.

He said this on Sunday at a town hall meeting on the electoral bill organised by Yiaga Africa and aired on Channels TV.

Akpata said the bill has so much goodness in it for Nigeria for it to be thrown away. He enjoined the members of the National Assembly to espionage the part of the direct and indirect primaries which the president had said if removed, he will assent to the bill, and hold him by his words.

He said the delay by the National Assembly might be a deliberate action to keep the country where it is at the moment till 2023 as the issue in the bill can be sorted.

He said, “I think that we can be forgiven when we conclude if this is a smokescreen of some sort and that there is a spanner thrown in the works to keep us in the moment, so that we will stay with the present dispensation, because this is something that could easily have been fixed.”

Akpata said if the leaders have the interest of Nigerians at heart, the issues on the electoral bill should have been sorted as the President and both Senate President and the Speaker of the House, are in the same political party.

“Mr President is of the same party as those who control the national assembly. If our leaders are interested in the progress for the people and for the nation, these are house issues that could have been sorted out by those in charge of affairs in both arms of government,” he said.

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He advised the National Assembly to take out the part that the president requested to be removed in other for the bill to be passed.

“Since the president has thrown in the charge about the direct and indirect primaries and if that provision is removed he would assent the bill, I welcome it to the members of the national assembly to take him at his word. Take out those provisions; we can deal with that further down the road. There is too much in that bill for the baby and the bath water to be thrown away.”

“I’m so disappointed with the ways things have panned out. Almost everything about that bill smells progress. Most of the provisions of the bill are pro-people. I see those provisions as incremental steps,”

“We cannot get it right all at once. So, we can forgive people that say our government is anti-people; you can forgive them if they come to that conclusion.”

“Everything rises and falls on leadership; leadership at the executive arm and in the legislature. We have a bill that has so many innovations that would advance the course of this nation and our people, including ensuring that INEC gets funding one year before the election,” he said.

When asked what the NBA will do to help in fast tracking the passing of the bill, Mr Akpata said they will liaise with MBA members in the National Assembly to lend their voices to the speedy passage of the bill.


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