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It’s too late to sign electoral act amendment, poll observers advise Buhari

  The Coalition of Election Monitors and Observers (CEMO), an organisation made up of 24 election monitoring groups, has asked President Muh...

 


The Coalition of Election Monitors and Observers (CEMO), an organisation made up of 24 election monitoring groups, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari not to sign a bill amending the electoral act.

 

Addressing a press conference on Monday in Abuja, Idris Yabu, convener of the coalition, said if the president signs the bill, it would be “counter-productive”.

 

The national assembly had passed an amendment to the electoral act allowing statutory delegates to vote in the primary election or convention of political parties.

 

Section 84(8) of the current Electoral Act 2022 does not allow statutory delegates to participate in conventions of political parties.

 

But Yabu said signing the bill now would be “changing the rules in the middle of the game and disjointing the entire electoral process”.

 

“It is now too late since political parties have already commenced activities for the 2023 elections under the provisions of the extant law,” the convener said.

 

“After a very extensive review and consultations on the issue, we submit that the amendments sought to Section 84 of the Electoral Act 2022, as desirable as they may be, have been overtaken by events leading to the 2023 general elections.

 

 “It is instructive to note that political parties, especially the two major political parties in Nigeria have already started the electoral processes under the timelines, schedules and rules prescribed by the provisions of the extant electoral act 2022.

 

“More importantly, it must be noted that political parties have already structured their timetables, sold nomination forms, screened aspirants, conducted congresses, elected delegates, with major parties already holding primaries and candidates already emerging under the rules provided for in the current electoral act, 2022.

 

“In this regard, any alteration or amendment to the electoral act, at this moment, will amount to changing the rules in the middle of the game. Such will be dangerous and counter-productive to our democratic process. It will trigger widespread political crises and result in litigations that can derail the 2023 general elections.

 

“Our observation shows that political parties, aspirants and the electorate have already adjusted to the current provision of section 84 of the electoral act. Candidates are already peacefully emerging. Any alteration at this moment has the propensity of dislocating the current political tranquility in the country and disrupting the entire electoral process.

 

 “CEMO therefore urges President Muhammadu Buhari to save the nation from a serious political crisis at this moment by returning the amendment bill to the national assembly for reprocessing for future elections.”

 

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