As reactions continued to trail the conditional passage of electronic transmission of election results by the National Assembly yesterday, Nigerians have expressed disappointment over the absence of some members of the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who were expected to champion the campaign during the voting. Out of 28 Senators who were marked absent at the Thursday’s voting, about eight are PDP members. Notably among the absentee senators are former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, former Minister of Interior, Abba Moro and his aviation counterpart, Stella Odua.
Though the votes would not have swayed the decision of the Senate, which has majority of the All Progressives Congress (APC) members, their absence was serious cause for concern. In the House of Representatives, however, opposition members staged a walkout to protest the decision of the APC members who are in majority to reject electronic transmission. Investigations revealed that those who were absent have corruption cases before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). It was further gathered that ahead of the Thursday’s voting, they took permission from President of the Senate three days to the day.
They might have taken the decision not to offend the powers that be and incur their anger. PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, who addressed the press on the matter on Friday, avoided comment on the attitude of the lawmakers. The party had instructed its members in the National Assembly to champion the Electoral and Constitution amendments. To underscore its seriousness, Ekweremadu was made chairman of PDP Electoral Act and Constitution amendments committee. A source told Saturday Telegraph that the party intends to hold interaction with its members in the National Assembly after Sallah. Secondus said: ‘‘PDP condemn and reject the amendment of Electoral Act as passed by the National Assembly and urge President Muhammadu Buhari to fulfill his anti-corruption crusade and see this as corruption and the biggest scam.”
He assured that the party: “Will take all necessary legal steps to ensure that this APC scam is not allowed to stand in any way. “We, therefore, call on all lovers of democracy who see free, fair and transparent election as vital, to stand up against this fraud. “It also shows that the dilly-dallying of APC all the while in amending the Electoral Act is deliberate as they never wanted from inception to do anything that will deepen democracy in our country.”