Saraki, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, on Wednesday, urged the President to rise above “petty politics and act without further delay” in the best interest of the country and its democracy by signing the bill into law. The Senate President noted said he had been inundated with telephone calls and discussions by members of the National Assembly, who expressed concern over the delay in assenting to the bill as the one-month period provided by the law for a bill passed by the National Assembly to be assented to, is about to expire in the next few days. He added that many of the legislators who contacted him were particularly disturbed that certain individuals who are said to be chairmen of political parties had approached the Federal High Court to stop the President from assenting to the bill. Saraki said, “My position remains that the President, his aides, the entire country and the international community are aware that all the concerns raised by the President on the past three occasions he withheld assent to the bill have been addressed by the legislature. We bent backwards on each occasion to accommodate the wishes of the President. We started work on this law since 2016 to prevent a situation where it would become part of the election controversies. “Every sincere commentator, observer and analyst know that what we have done with that bill is to raise the level of transparency, credibility and acceptability of our electoral process. We made sure that the law, if assented to and honestly applied by INEC and all those concerned, will give us an election that will be better than what we had in 2015. “The President should know that the survival of democracy, its development and the future of Nigeria are far more important than the ambition of any individual or party. I am using this opportunity to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to put a stop to this uncertainty in the political process by signing without delay the 2018 Electoral Bill so as to allow INEC and the concerned parties know how to prepare for a credible process.” The Senate President noted that the jaded tactic employed in the 90s to scuttle the return to democracy, when groups like the Association for Better Nigeria went to court to frustrate the announcement of the results of the June 12, 1993, elections, was now being adopted by some masked groups and individuals to stop the signing into law of the bill. He urged President Buhari to dissociate himself from “these ugly antics” and sign the bill, which he said had comprehensively addressed issues that usually clog the process of free, fair, credible and peaceful elections. Saraki added, “It is the prerogative of the President to either sign a bill into law or refuse it assent. He is free to exercise this prerogative the way he likes in this case. What I found surprising is a situation where some people now want to adopt a wrong tactic of abusing the court process to stall the matter. That will be unacceptable and I am sure our judiciary will rely on the lessons from the past and not allow itself to be used. “We do not want the President to allow the setting of a bad precedent in which somebody will go to court in future to stop the passage of an appropriation bill or any essential law which will be important to the development of the country.”]]>

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