By John Ikani
Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan has expressed disappointment in Nigeria’s National Assembly, stressing that laws being made by the current crop of lawmakers appear to target individuals, rather than work for the good of the country.
Jonathan registered his displeasure over the ugly trend on Thursday while speaking at a book launch titled, “Political Party Governance” authored by Dr. Mohammed Wakil, a former Minister of State for Power.
Nigeria’s National Assembly recently passed the Electoral Act 2022 with a contentious section 84 (12) that excluded statutory delegates such as elected political office holders, political appointees, and executive officers of political parties from voting at primaries to nominate candidates for the 2023 general election.
The contentious clause was reportedly inserted by Vice President of the Nigerian Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege to advantage himself in the politics of Delta State.
According to respected Journalist, writer and former presidential spokesman, Olusegun Adeniyi: “Shortly after the passage of the Electoral Act 2022, Omo-Agege sensationally confessed to unilaterally writing the law to advantage himself in the politics of Delta State.
“Addressing an audience comprised of his political loyalists in Pidgin English, he said: “No be who first call police dey win case o. They (obviously referring to some politicians within the state) dey here (Delta); we dey Abuja. You know what that means…As my leader, Dr Mordi said, electoral regime don change and that electoral act wey una dey hear so, na me write am. I write am because I know how Delta politics be.”
“Omo-Agege may have written the electoral act as he claimed in the trending video, but he has hurt himself and colleagues in the process. By the time he realized his mistake and called back his colleagues for a quick-fire amendment, it was too late.
“Now, we have a situation in which party members saddled with the power to nominate candidates have become super delegates and money is effectively the name of the game.”
What the Former President is saying
Jonathan who condemned the prioritisation of selfish interests over national interests urged lawmakers to put country before self.
He also stressed that political parties must be allowed to adopt their own process of selecting and electing their candidates.
According to him: “The National Assembly can’t make laws and lock all political parties together. Parties have different ways of nominating candidates and the process is enshrined in their constitutions.
“Creating a situation where all parties must have the same way of selecting candidates is nonsense. Parties are not parastatals of government.
The former president went on to describe those calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the latest amendments to the electoral act as being ignorant of due process in the office of the president.
It is worthwhile to note that the latest amendment to Section 84 (8) of the electoral act avails statutory delegates the opportunity to vote at the indirect primaries and national convention of political parties.
If the president declines assent, then statutory delegates, such as elected political office holders, political appointees, and executive officers of political parties will not be eligible to vote at primaries to nominate candidates for the 2023 general election.