Bauchi State Governor and presidential aspirant on the platform of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bala Mohammed, has backed the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the amended Electoral Act Bill 2022, saying the development is a good omen for many presidential aspirants.
In reaction to the controversies trailing the Electoral Amendment Bill, he said, “the lesser the merrier”.
He also faulted the delays, saying the process of amending the Electoral Act did not start on time and assenting to it now might go against the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) guidelines for elections.
Mohammed spoke Wednesday while fielding questions from State House Correspondents after leading a delegation on a thank-you visit to President Buhari for inaugurating a N23.5 billion World Bank Assisted Upgraded Bauchi Township Water Supply Scheme.
Asked what was his reaction to the President not signing the amended Electoral Bill, the former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) minister said: “Well, I’m a realist. I believe that the Electoral Act is a product of the legislative process and that has been done and it was not done earlier and then we have a timeline and guideline of INEC, so we’ll have to manage it.
“I think the less the merrier as somebody who is in the race. Well, I have less delegates to go and woo. It is better for me than all these 4,000, 5,000 delegates. Anyway, that is my take.”
Recall that while the electoral umpire is firming up preparations for the 2023 general elections, some political parties had mounted pressure on President Buhari to assent to the amendment to Section 84 (8), which provides that delegates to vote at the indirect primaries and national convention of political parties to elect candidates for elections shall be those democratically elected for that purpose only.
It, therefore, implies that statutory delegates, such as elected political office holders, political appointees, and executive officers of political parties would not be eligible to vote at primaries to nominate candidates for the 2023 general election.
The new Section 84 has in effect reduced the number of delegates for parties’ indirect primaries and cut down the financial commitment of aspirants toward delegates.
On Saturday, there were unconfirmed reports that Buhari had signed the amended act into law, but sources at the presidency debunked the information as false.
Till the time of filing this report, Buhari was yet to assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill.