Pressure your reps to pass Electoral Act amendment, Na’Allah tells Nigerians

•Says insecurity caused by previous injustices

A member of the Senate Committee of Electoral Matters, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah has advised Nigerians to put pressure on their representatives in the National Assembly to pass the amendments to the Electoral Act.

The All Progressive Congress (APC) senator representing Kebbi State, told correspondents after a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja during the weekend, that even though public hearing has been completed and inputs taken, there is the need for the lawmakers to do the right thing.

Na’Allah spoke against the concerns raised by stakeholders including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the amendments may not be passed early enough for the 2023 general elections.

He said Nigerians must talk to their members in the National Assembly to act patriotically during the consideration of the amendment bill.

Na’Allah said: “Luckily, I’m a member of the Senate Committee on Electoral Matters. So, I must be given the benefit of knowing what is going on.

“We have finished our public hearing, we have taken inputs, there are certain things that no matter how you try to be accommodative enough, they are practically impossible.

“But those ones that guarantee a free and fair electoral process have been taken into account and I’m very sure we will give Nigerians an Electoral Act that they will be very proud of.

“Well, of course, that means that every Nigerian has a responsibility to talk to his representatives in the Senate and the House, to accept the fact that he must act patriotically.

“He must place the nation above his party’s interest in the determination of the provisions of the Electoral Act. Once we do this, we don’t have a problem.

“I am not sure there is any Nigerian, responsible Nigerian, who is not interested in an electoral law that gives us the comfort of conducting a free, fair and credible election.

“These three concepts have often been misused by people who don’t know, they are distinct and distinguishable and they are mutually repellent.

“It is one thing for an election to be free, it is another thing for it to be fair, it is another thing for it to be credible. The yardstick for measuring the three concepts are completely different.”

Asked what may be the fate of electronic voting in the senate, Na’Allah said that will be determined when the principal law is considered on the floor of the house.

The APC senator attributed the current high level insecurity in the country to what he called injustices inflicted in the past.

Commenting on allegation that the more money is invested on fighting insecurity, the more it thrives, he posited: “I think there are certain feelings that, with the greatest respect, cannot be justified in the present situation.

“You see, a society evolves with its own problems, depending on its structure. Let me give you an example. The Boko Haram is predominantly in the Northeast, it’s not a fact that you can say is not correct. Banditry is in the Northwest, you can’t say it’s no correct.

“These are issues that the previous injustices that we have done to ourselves, collectively and individually, are manifesting. It is only unfortunate that they are manifesting now when this government is in place and that is reason why that the government, having not been directly responsible for this situation, should be assisted with whatever assistance from any responsible citizen of this country to ensure that we put this behind us.

“Like I have said, whether anybody likes it or not, the truth is this country will remain one because the factors that bring the country together are stronger than the ones that seek to divide it and I think that every responsible Nigerian should understand this and kowtow to it and make sure that he gives his or her own contribution to ensure that we have a very formidable and resilient country, where we can at least begin to love ourselves, do justice to ourselves, and build a society that every citizen of this country will be proud of, and it’s a collective responsibility.”

Na’Allah reassured that the leadership of the National Assembly will support President Buhari “on all issues regarding the administration of this great country,” calling on other citizens to do so as well.

“Our concern is that every responsible citizen of this country has a responsibility to key into this at this trying moment because we all must have a country first, before we begin to talk about our differences or whatever our concerns are that are private. I think we are very clear on this matter,” he declared.

The senator explained that he was in the presidential villa to discuss issues of national importance with the president, saying “we have had a very frank discussion with the president and I’m happy to tell Nigerians that there is a commitment, a real commitment, to reverse most of the concerns established by Nigerians as far as this country is concerned.”

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