Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) under the aegis of Civil Society Partners on Electoral Matters, have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency, sign the new electoral act amendment bill into law.
The electoral act amendment bill was on Friday transmitted by the National Assembly to the President for his assent in line with provisions of the constitution of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
The CSOs, therefore, called on President Buhari to rise above elite political conspiracy threatening the legislation and sign the bill into law.
The Civil Society Partners urged the president to demonstrate statesmanship, courage, and avoid the needless governors versus National Assembly controversy and side with the people of Nigerians, who are eager to have the act in operation before the end of 2021.
The CSOs made the plea in a statement on Sunday by the Executive Director, Adopt A Goal for Development Initiative, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, and endorsed by Centre for Liberty, Raising New Voices, Youth and Students Advocates for Development Initiative (YSAD), NESSACTION, The Nigerian Alliance, The Art and Civics Table and Speak Out Africa Initiative on Wednesday.
According to the partners, “The amendments and innovative provisions in the new electoral act bill are significant legal frameworks good enough to reinvigorate the electoral process, engender credibility and win the confidence of Nigerians in our elections.
“We wish to inform President Buhari that the governors versus National Assembly controversy over modes of party primaries is not sufficient to delay the signing of the bill,because the success or failure of party primaries is mainly due to the character of politicians, and not the system.
“There is no law that is 100 per cent perfect; consequently, we urge the President to sign this bill and allow the country to test the new amendments and exclusive provisions in the new electoral act at the remaining off-cycle elections in the country.
“We also wish to urge President Buhari to remember the promise he made to Nigerians in late 2018 to sign the electoral bill amendments after the 2019 general elections, and also his commitment to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that, ‘we will make available to them (INEC) everything (including signing the new electoral bill) they need to operate efficiently, so that no one will say we don’t want to go, or that we want a third term.’
“This is a glorious opportunity for President Buhari to etch his name on Nigeria’s democratic plate by signing this bill in record time and by making it one of the fastest legislation ever signed into law by a Nigerian President.
“While the bill was passed as electoral act bill 2021, it would equally be significant for the President to sign it as the end of 2021 gift to Nigerians.”
Deji Elumoye in Abuja