By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
A Civil Society Organisation, Center for Advancement of Civil Liberties and Development, CACLD, Monday, called on the ninth National Assembly to pass the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
This was contained in a statement signed by the conveners, CACLD, Deji Adeyanju, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, and Adebayo Raphael, where the group called for urgent attention to be given to electoral reforms ahead of Edo and Ondo States’ 2020 governorship elections.
According to the group recent elections in the country including the just concluded nationwide re-run elections, have repeatedly exposed the inherent loopholes in Nigeria’s electoral process, hence the urgent need for electoral reforms.
It also said NASS should ensure electoral reform is prioritized as a foremost legislative focus.
The Center for Advancement of Civil Liberties and Development, also known as the Center for Liberty (CFL), presently focuses on Electoral Reforms, among other core issues bordering on democratic governance and social change.
The statement reads in part, “As the ninth National Assembly resumes for the 2020 legislative session, we would like to urge distinguished lawmakers to prioritize the passage of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill to further demonstrate its commitment to free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.
“Recent elections in Nigeria, including the just-concluded nationwide re-run elections, have repeatedly exposed the inherent loopholes in Nigeria’s electoral process and the urgent need for electoral reforms which we believe must be prioritized as a foremost legislative focus, before the next governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states.
“It is common knowledge to all Nigerians that elections in Nigeria are conducted as a ‘do-or-die’ affair, and such mentality has severely bastardized Nigeria’s electoral process, subjecting it to occasional abuse, manipulation and untamed violence from different political stakeholders.
“We believe that the ninth National Assembly must as a matter of urgency, factor into its legislative deliberations an amended Electoral Act that will address the political consequences and socio-economic impact of sub-standard elections, prevent the endless anguish and trepidation foisted on electorates as a result of election violence, and also prevent the general threat of less than free, fair and credible elections on Nigeria’s democratic and electoral processes.
“We equally believe that the ninth National Assembly must actively aggregate the general views of all stakeholders in Nigeria’s democratic process including the Civil Society Organizations, Political Parties, International partners and especially the Nigerian people, to legislate an enduring Electoral Reform Act that will reinforce the trust of the electorates and other stakeholders in the credibility of Nigeria’s electoral process.”
It also expressed dismay over poorly conducted elections as the nation is yet to get it right in its electoral process.
“We are saddened that after 20 years of uninterrupted democratic dispensation Nigeria is yet to learn the simple way to organize credible elections in Africa.
“This repeated failure to organize elections according to global standards has severely damaged Nigeria’s reputation among the comity of nations”, it added.