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New Electoral Act: CSOs want INEC to set new dates for 2023 general elections

 


Following the assent to the Amended Electoral Act by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, over 20 Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, have urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to issue a fresh notice of election and announce new dates for the 2023 general elections.

 

The CSOs in a joint statement made available in Abuja, noted that the action has become necessary since the new Act stipulates that INEC issues notice of election not later than 360 days to the next general elections.

 

The groups, championed by Yiaga Africa, also commended the presidency for redeeming its pledge to assent to the bill, including Nigerians who stood their ground to ensure the review of the electoral act, believing that it would help to strengthen our democratic process.

 

The CSOs said, “Among other important provisions, this Electoral Act reviews timelines for election activities. For instance, the new Act requires the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a Notice of Election not later than 360 days to the next General Election. We call on INEC to as a matter of urgency issue a notice of election and announce new dates for the 2023 General Elections.

 

“The undersigned CSOs call on the National Assembly to ensure gazetted copies of the Electoral Act 2022 are available to citizens and election stakeholders in a timely manner. We note that a delay in this will further reduce the opportunities for citizens and stakeholders to sufficiently familiarise with provisions in the new Act and support its implementation.

 

“This Electoral Act 2022, is a product of a consistent citizen’s actions and effective partnerships towards reforming Nigeria’s electoral process. History will reckon with this dedication towards building our electoral democracy.

 

“Today, Friday, 25th February 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Electoral Bill 2022 into Law, marking a huge milestone in Nigeria’s quest to consolidate electoral democracy.

 

“The new Electoral Act, 2022 which incorporates innovative provisions that will enhance credibility of our electoral process, signifies a new era in the history of elections in Nigeria. More importantly, the new Electoral Act symbolises the commitment of Nigerians to remain consistent in the demand for credible, free, inclusive, transparent and fair elections.

 

“We, as civil society, commend the President for fulfilling his promise of assenting to the Electoral Bill. We also commend the National Assembly for their responsiveness in ensuring the Bill substantially reflects the will of the Nigerian people and for transmitting same to the President upon Citizens demands as laid back in January 2022.

 

“We commend and congratulate Nigerians for their active participation and vigilance in engaging the electoral reform process since inception. Civil society organisations and the media deserve special commendation for their steadfastness, resilience and sustaining the pressure for successful completion of the electoral reform process.

 

“We also acknowledge the contributions of the development partners as well as other stakeholders that have consistently provided support towards the electoral reform process.”

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