CSOs task Buhari to assent Electoral Bill 2021

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have called President Mohammadu Buhari to assent to the Electoral Bill 2021.

They said it is in congruence with the will and aspirations of the Nigerian people.

The CSOs that made the plea include Yiaga Africa , International Press Centre (IPC), Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CDD) among others.

They said the President should honour his commitment to bequeath to Nigerians an electoral system that guarantees the conduct of credible, inclusive and peaceful elections.

While briefing newsmen in Abuja , the Executive Director of Yiaga Africa , Samson Itodo said 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.

He said the Presidency on 19th November 2021 acknowledged the receipt of the Electoral Bill 2021 from the National Assembly for Presidential assent.

According to him, the bill contains specific provisions that are directed at enhancing the quality and credibility of elections and address certain lacunas in the existing electoral legal framework.

Also, the Executive Director, International Press Centre, Lanre Arogundade explained that such provisions in the Bill include: Legal backing for the use of electoral technologies for the purpose of voter accreditation and electronic transmission of election results; extension of restrictive timelines for electoral activities, concise definition of over voting and the conferment of legal authority on INEC to review questionable election results.

He said the undersigned Civil Society Organizations welcome the decision of the President to invite the comment of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government on the Bill.

He said in this regard, the input from the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Minister of the Interior, Minister of Finance and the Inspector General of the Police are probably the most crucial.

Also, the Executive Director of Center for Citizens With Disabilities, Daniel Anyaele said  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.

Other CSOs are Albino Foundation,CLEEN Foundation, Institute for Media and Society (IMS),Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) and Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ).