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BUHARI’S REJECTION OF THE 2018 ELECTORAL ACT AMENDMENT BILL

NOTE: First published on December 10, 2018. The “Published” date on the tab is the date that it was uploaded on this new site. Though some issues in this piece may still be current (depending on…), this is to avoid mistaking it as current news.

This is “No Bullshiting,” by Harry Agina.

I have not been much of a fan of Senator Dino Melaye of Nigeria and his regular antics at the National Assembly. However, the dude impressed the heck out of me today (Dec 10, 2018); and, characteristically, it behooves me to hail him as much as I have condemned some of his antics in the Senate, which I often see as clownish. Going by his performance on TV today, I must say that Nigeria’s major political opposition party, the PDP, did well to chose the Senator as one of its spokesmen for the 2019 presidential election campaign.

I enjoyed Senator Melaye’s argument earlier today (Dec 10, 2018) on President Buhari’s unpopular stance on the nation’s controversial 2018 electoral bill. I have always seen the senator as clownish, infantile, unserious man. I never knew that he had it in him to be so articulate, or “Atikulate,” as fans of PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, would put it. His antagonist on the TV show was one Dr. Chidia Maduekwe. Like many APC apologists on all matters, Maduekwe failed woefully in the task of defending Buhari’s attitude to the bill. It was a major task of defending another indefensible Buhari act, meeeeeeeeeen!!!

Naturally, there are hardened politicians who would look you straight in the eye and tell you that white is black, and not even flinch a moment. But, for some, being conscious of the people’s popular will usually has the tendency to literally tie their tongues, when they attempt to defend Buhari. They often stutter and speak incoherently. Another give-away sign sometimes is what I call the ‘loss-of-cool’ syndrome. The culprits tend to lose their cool, shout, and become offensive and rude. Yes, indeed, the APC dude lost his cool quite alright! Meanwhile, Senator Melaye who I often associate with clownishness surprised the heck out of me with his cool and calm self, as he trashed the opponent’s flimsy argument.

The people, including yours truly here, want the new electoral law. The bill contains provisions that give us a hope for elections that may be free of monumental rigging. Dr. Maduekwe, who is not among “the people,” is an appointee of President Buhari. He is his new Managing Director of Nigeria Film Corporation. And, Senator Melaye pointed out in the debate that “if Maduekwe said anything different than support Buhari, he would be removed from that seat before the end of today.” Dino Melaye virtually called Maduekwe a daemon, when he said that “only a daemon would work against such an anti-rigging electoral bill…”

I learned from Melaye that a retinue of Buhari’s men, led by his Attorney General, represented him during the deliberations on the bill at the National Assembly. He explained that every single concern of President Buhari was addressed totally in his favor, just to ensure his accent. And, check this out: Buhari’s expert representatives were completely satisfied with every single item of the amendment. And, after that, the president himself no longer has any complaint against the bill. Yet, Mr. Anti-corruption President still refuses to sign it. Instead, he wants to sign it after the 2019 elections. So, why does he refuse to sign the bill now to prevent rigging in the 2019 elections, huh, huh, huh???

Quoting Senator Dino Melaye; “Buhari wants to rig the election first,” and then sign the anti-rigging bill into law afterwards. Let’s face it, this is a very reasonable conjecture, if you want to call it a conjecture. And, Melaye is in the company of millions of Nigerians on this opinion, including yours truly. Melaye insisted, pointedly, that President Buhari refuses to sign the bill because he plots to rig the process to re-elect himself in 2019, and the Act works against this plot, period!!! Dr. Chidia Maduekwe’s effort to defend Buhari was absolutely inarticulate, at best. People like him are hypocrites who do know that Buhari’s acts are indefensible, but they believe that they have to lie in order to keep their jobs. They are men of zero integrity!

It is the job of the rest Nigerians to say no to the bullshit that Buhari apologists and propagandists try to sell. Melaye achieved that much in his encounter with Maduekwe. The best that Maduekwe could come up with was that Buhari has the right to refuse to sign the bill because “he is not breaking any law.” This is true, but we’re not talking about his rights now; we want him to do the right thing. According to him, Buhari is invoking a regional “protocol” of the “Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)” as reason for his act. The “protocol” essentially says that electoral laws should not be enacted and effected within six months to any general elections.

What a big laugh!!! This is the same Buhari who bluntly disobeyed prior adjudications of the same ECOWAS, and other regional bodies in Africa. Buhari picks and chooses which laws of the land (Nigerian or regional) to obey, when they favor him. He rejects others as the dictator that he is. In fact, Buhari had disobeyed a specific judgment of the court of the same ECOWAS regional body, whose electoral protocol he is now hiding under. The ECOWAS court once ruled that Buhari must obey Nigerian courts that granted bail to former Nigeria’s National Security Adviser (NSA). He bluntly disobeyed the judgement; the NSA is still illegally incarcerated!!! Yet, Maduekwe had the temerity to say in the TV debate that Buhari is “always within the law;” a huge lie, meeeeeeeeeeeen!!!

Many Nigerians argue that Buhari tactically delayed the bill to make way for his ECOWAS-protocol-deadline excuse. The bill was presented to him early enough to meet the deadline, but he delayed it until it got late. Mind you, the ECOWAS protocol is only a mere suggestion, not a law that must necessarily be binding on member countries. Mr. President rejected a direct ECOWAS court judgment to release the incarcerated former NSA on bail; but he is quick to embrace a mere suggestion by the same body!!! Also, for the fact that the ECOWAS protocol is not compulsory, former president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed an electoral bill less than one week before the 2015 elections, which benefited Buhari immensely and helped to put him in power. Now, he has over two whole months, but he refuses to sign the bill.

After all said, the pertinent question is: how determined are Nigerians for their right to free, fair, and credible elections with minimal rigging? If determined, there are variety of options to pursue, including:

  1. Beating The Ecowas “Protocol” 6-Month Deadline Excuse:The regional “suggestion” of ECOWAS does have a proviso. It says that the deadline can be overridden by a resolution of majority of the nation’s political players. Will the political parties and other players do this? I truly doubt it. I believe that they are going to just bark like lame dogs. They don’t have what it takes to bite against Mr. President’s perceived bad intention, meeeeeeeeen!!!
  2. The Lawmakers:It is time for the so-called people’s representatives in government, the national lawmakers, to prove their worth. They must shun cash-and-carry politics, come together to veto Mr. President’s decision, and give Nigeria a befitting electoral law. Are all lawmakers going to show some integrity and do this; and no more partisan Bullshitting???
  3. Agitation By The People:Nigerians must rise and agitate against Mr. President’s attitude, with every constitutional means necessary. Also, come 2019 elections, the people must vote out any lawmaker that refuses to vote to veto Buhari and pass the bill. Are Nigerians going to mobilize and do this, or are we just going to continue to bark on social media, with no effort to bite?

I do pray that Nigerians will realize that it’s high time we started putting every constitutional arsenal in our power to fight the current crop of evil leaders. Our key targets should be the national loot-makers. We should consider occupying our National Assembly, for instance, to force the loot-makers to do our bidding. We are their bosses…and, I ain’t bullshiting ya, meeeeeeeeeeen!!!

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