From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Civil society organizations, Yiaga Africa, International Press Centre and Center for Citizens With Disability have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Electoral Bill 2021.
The Presidency, had on November 19, 2021 acknowledged the receipt of the Electoral Bill 2021 from the National Assembly for presidential assent.
The bill contains specific provisions directed at enhancing the quality and credibility of elections and address certain lacunas in the existing electoral legal framework.
Yiaga Africa’s Executive Director, Samson Itodo, at a press briefing yesterday in Abuja, on behalf of the CSOa said, “the President should timeously assent to the Electoral Bill 2021 which is in congruence with the will and aspirations of the Nigerian people.
“President Mohammadu Buhari must continue to pursue and honour his commitment to bequeath to Nigerians an electoral system that guarantees the conduct of credible, inclusive and peaceful elections.
“Further amendments to the Electoral Bill 2021 by the National Assembly should be undertaken in the next electoral cycle based on real and perceived lacuna identified in the implementation of the current Bill.”
Itodo added, “he undersigned Civil Society Organizations welcome the decision of the President to invite the comment of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of on the Bill.
“In their consideration of the Bill, these Office Holders should be guided by the overriding public interest to strengthen our electoral process and the consolidation of our democracy.
“It is our firm belief that the Bill in its current state will not only encourage increased citizens’ participation in the electoral process, but it will also further enhance the capacity of the democratic institutions to improve the transparency and legitimacy of electoral outcomes.
“Furthermore, the timely assent to the Electoral Bill 2021 will facilitate early preparations and efficient election administration of the 2023 General Election, which is just 443 days away.
“It must be emphasized that the successful conduct of any election is predicated on the certainty and clarity of the election legal framework, amongst other factors.
“This is to preclude any legal uncertainties that may occasion manipulation and subversion of the electoral process.
“It is for this reason that the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Good Governance and the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance requires that any amendment to the electoral legal framework must be concluded at least six months to the date of election.”