By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
A group of fourteen governmental and non-governmental organisations, on Tuesday, called on the National Assembly to speed up the process for the passage of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021.
The speedy enactment of the Bill, the group reasoned, will give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the legal clarity to adequately plan and efficiently conduct future elections, particularly the Anambra governorship election scheduled for 6 November 2021.
Similarly, the organisations have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to speedily assent to the bill and deliver a brand- new Electoral Act 2021 to Nigerians ahead of the 2021 democracy day celebration on 12 June 2021.
The organisations said this in a statement yesterday in Abuja.
The Ninth Assembly, they maintained,
has an obligation to work expeditiously on passing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 and pass same to the President for assent.
The organisations, which made the calls are; Centre for Citizens with Disability (CCD), Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), CLEEN Foundation, Inclusive Friends Association (IFA), Institute for Media and Society (IMS), International Press Centre (IPC), Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI),and National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS).
The rest are; Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund (NWTF), Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa (PAACA), Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), The Albino Foundation (TAF) and Yiaga Africa.
The organisations argued that if the current electoral legal framework is not reviewed and reformed, it will have negative impact and consequences for democratic consolidation.
The National Assembly, according to them, must recognise that passing the Electoral Bill in good time will engender expeditious action by the executive.
The organisations, in their statement said, “The speedy enactment of the Bill will give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the legal clarity to adequately plan and efficiently conduct future elections, particularly the Anambra governorship election scheduled for 6 November 2021.
“Consequently, we join our voices with millions of Nigerians to call on the National Assembly to speed up the process for the passage of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
“In the same vein, we call on the President to speedily assent to the bill and deliver a brand- new Electoral Act 2021 to Nigerians ahead of the 2021 democracy day celebration on 12 June 2021.
“We commend the contributions and resilience of Nigerians, the Civil Society, political actors, development partners and other relevant stakeholders in their relentless pursuit for an Electoral Act that engenders participation, inclusiveness, transparency and credibility of the electoral process.
“We also commend the efforts of the Senate and House of Representatives’ Joint- Committee on INEC and Electoral Matters in ensuring that Nigeria gets a new and improved electoral legal framework.
“We remain hopeful that these collective commitments and partnership further translates to the passage and enactment of a new Electoral Act that works for all Nigerians.
“We remain resolute in our demand to the leadership of the Ninth Assembly to ensure it writes its name in gold by delivering to Nigerians a new Electoral Act that prioritises citizens demands”, they said.