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2023: Bauchi CSOs urge Buhari to sign Electoral Amendment Bill

Some Bauchi-based Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Friday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately assent to the amended Elector...


Some Bauchi-based Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Friday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately assent to the amended Electoral Bill 2021 recently passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly to give credibility to elections in Nigeria, starting with the 2023 general election.


This is contained in a joint press statement signed by the Executive Director, Young Leaders Network, Seun Onarinde; Executive Director, Leadtots Development Initiative, Nicholas Afeso Oshojah; Programme Manager, Women Development Association for Sustainable Development, Sukumun Ezekiel and the Coordinator, American Space, Bauchi,


The statement was made available to journalists in Bauchi State.


The CSOs said Buhari’s non-assent to the bill, four weeks after it was transmitted to him by the National Assembly was giving Nigerians, especially the citizen groups much concern.


They added that a quick signing of the bill would help early preparations for the 2023 general election, submitting that the success of any elections is predicated on transparency and how certain the legal framework of the nation is.


The CSOs said the amended Electoral Bill contained parts that were directed at improving the quality and credibility of elections and addressing certain deficiencies in the existing Electoral Act.


Such areas, they noted, include the legal backing for the use of electoral technologies for voter accreditation and electronic transfer of election results; extension of restrictive timelines for electoral activities; concise definition of over-voting and the conferment of legal authority on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to review questionable election results.


While calling for a quick ascent to the bill, the groups submitted that the bill at its present state would not only increase citizens’ participation in the electoral process but also promote the capacity of the institutions to promote transparency and lawfulness of the electoral processes.


The statement read, “It is about four weeks since the bill was passed to the Presidency and the bill is yet to receive assent. This is giving Nigerians, especially the citizen group much concern.


“We believe that the bill at its present state will increase citizen’s participation in the electoral process and promote the capacity of the institutions to promote transparency and lawfulness of the electoral processes and outcomes, and as well promote democratic processes in the nation.


“Hence, the quick assent to the Electoral Bill 2021 will help early preparations and effective elections of the 2023 General Election, which is 14 months away.


“The success of any election is predicated on transparency and how certain the legal framework of the nation is, amongst others things.


“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 the election.”


They asserted that Buhari’s assurance in 2019 to leave a legacy of credible elections in Nigeria, which they described as the foundation of political stability and peace in any nation, was very strong and gave hope to every Nigerian.


“There is no iota of doubt that in January 2019, while inaugurating the APC presidential campaign council in Abuja, President Buhari said he will leave a legacy of credible elections in Nigeria, adding that it is the foundation of political stability and peace in any nation. This statement is very strong and resonates hope for every Nigerian that the President wants to give Nigeria a gift of a credible democratic election.


“However, the delay of the President in accenting to this bill can make Nigerians doubt his credibility and integrity.


“We, therefore, urge the President to save his image and protect his integrity by accenting to the bill as he promised Nigerians.


“This bill which upholds direct primaries for political parties will eliminate all illegal and opportunist setbacks to youths and women political participation.


“We also urge the President who, in his good gesture, accented to the Not too Young to Run Act in 2019 should make history again by accenting to this Amended Electoral Bill 2021.


“This will show Nigerians that the President is indeed a supporter of youth and women emergence in Governance Positions,” the CSOs stated.


They, however, appealed to political actors, particularly state governors not to be a clog in the wheel of progress in the accent to the bill but should rather see this as an opportunity to give to Nigerians the credible elections they seek, declaring that posterity would remember them for that.

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