The Majority Leader of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said President Muhammadu Buhari cannot be forced to sign the electoral amendment bill.
Lawan, speaking with NAN, said the president’s decision to withhold assent was not a big deal, noting that it was done in the interest of the country.
The lawmaker stated that the 2010 electoral act was good enough for the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
“That the president declined assent to the bill was no big deal.
“We can still use the electoral act, 2010, that was used in 2015 general election. This is to allay the fears of the citizens, who might think that the 2019 elections would not be well conducted without the amendment.
“What we need to do is to look at the few lapses, especially in terms of administration which does not need any legal backing.
“INEC conducted a very good election in 2015 with the existing act. So, I believe that we can use that and nobody should start thinking that the elections will not be free and fair.
“The 2015 elections were free, fair and transparent. All over the world, we were commended for conducting such a credible election. It is not like the current act is so defective that we cannot use it,” he said.
Lawan added that “If we cannot use the current amendments in 2019, who says we cannot use it in the 2023 elections and elections in between 2019 and 2023.
“So, national interest is of utmost importance and not the noise being made by some people. So, there is no reason for worry or agitation.”
Lawan said the president’s action was not a selfish one, adding that he scrutinised the bill before deciding to withhold assent.
“The president believes in due process and as such he will do anything possible to ensure that our election processes are transparent.
“For me, Mr. President took his time with his advisers to study the bill before coming up with the decision. We are all working in the interest of the nation and as such nobody should claim to be more patriotic than the president.
“The president has his track records. This is a president that his whole life has been devoted to public good. He has never shown selfishness or done anything to enhance his personal status.
“All he does is for Nigeria to be better. So, I want to say that he cannot be forced to sign something as important as the electoral bill,” he added.