The Ijaw Youth Council, (IYC), has asked the National Assembly to take priority over President Muhammadu Buhari and enact the amended Electoral Act into law ahead of the 2019 election.
The group said the refusal to grant assent for the fourth time was unpatriotic and has returned the nation to the era of do-or-die politics.
The council led by Mr. Eric Omare, in a declaration yesterday in Warri, said: “We call on the National Assembly to, in line with the relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution and without delay, override the President’s refusal to assent to the Electoral Act and enact same into law.
“National interest is over and above the interest of one individual or political party and must be protected.
“The Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide notes that the refusal of President Buhari to assent to the Electoral Act amendment after three attempts by the National Assembly is unpatriotic and amounts to elevating personal interest over and above national interest.”
“The IYC completely reject the reasons advance by President Buhari for refusing to assent to the amendment because they are weak and unjustifiable.
“Contrary to President Buhari’s claim that signing the Electoral Act now would cause confusion in the electoral process, in actual fact, it is the refusal to sign the Electoral Act amendment into law that has caused confusion and would cause more confusion in the days to come.
“One of the innovations introduced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, under former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, was the card reader. However, the courts could not enforce the non-adherence to its usage because it was not backed by the Electoral Act.
“Therefore, President Buhari, who is a beneficiary of electoral reforms in Nigeria, ought to support efforts at making the usage of card reader mandatory.
“President Buhari’s refusal to assent to the Electoral Act amendment is a big setback to electoral reforms in Nigeria and has eroded citizens and stakeholders’ confidence in the 2019 general election.
“We are back to the era of do-or-die politics.”