Stakeholders in the nation’s electoral system have called on the National Assembly to prioritise amendment of the Electoral Bill on resumption from recess on Tuesday.
They made the call in Abuja at a news conference tagged: Civil Society Statement on the need for the National Assembly to Act with Dispatch on the Electoral Bill.
The Executive Director, International Press Centre Mr Lanre Arogundade, pointed out that the Citizens Town Hall meeting, recently held by Stakeholders on the Electoral Bill was aimed at prioritizing the review of the Bill with dispatch.
“Today, with only 398 days to the 2023 general election, it is crucial for the National Assembly and the President to conclude the electoral amendment process by 31st Jan, 2022. The National Assembly should remove the contentious clause of direct primaries, resolve all the identified drafting errors, cross-referencing gaps and re-transmit the bill to the President for immediate assent within a week of resumption”.
He noted that stakeholders at the forum also emphasised the need for speedy enactment of the Bill to enhance the Electoral legal framework required to facilitate early preparations and credible 2023 general election.
The Organizers believed that further delay to conclude the Electoral Act amendment process would affect the preparations for Ekiti and Osun off-cycle governorship elections, as well as future elections.
A Board Member of Yiaga Africa Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, recommended that the Senate and House of Representatives re-transmit the Electoral Bill to President Muhammadu Buhari by Friday upon conclusion of the process.
Contributing, the Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Women Trust Fund, Mufuliat Fijabi, appealed to the president and the National Assembly to conclude issues on the bill ahead of the 2023 elections,
to build the confidence of Nigerians in the forthcoming general election.
The Executive Director, Albino Foundation, Jake Ekpelle added that the bill when signed into law would be the most inclusive electoral law, as it would also enable Persons With Disabilities exercise their franchise.
By Julian Osamoto