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CSO advocates conduct of general elections on same day

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Charges NASS to amend Electoral Act

CSO advocates conduct of general elections on same day

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

A Civil Society Organisation, CSO, called Centre for Liberty, CFL, Sunday, advocated for the conduct of general elections in Nigeria on the same Election Day.

This was contained in a statement signed by the co-conveners, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, Deji Adeyanju, and Raphael Adebayo, who asserted that elections conducted on the same day would reduce and curtail every form of electoral malpractice including rigging, violence, cost, and delays.

CFL is also known as Center for Advancement of Civil Liberties, and Development, CACLD, presently focus on Electoral Reforms, among other core issues bordering on democratic governance and social change in Nigeria.

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The Electoral Reform Advocacy by CFL is committed to a comprehensive reform of the legal and constitutional framework underpinning elections in Nigeria. The organisation said the intervention will responsively galvanize the public towards electoral reform by creating awareness on the current deficit in the electoral process.

The statement reads in part: “We are saddened that after 20 years of uninterrupted democratic dispensation Nigeria is yet to learn the simple way to organize credible elections. This repeated failure to organize elections according to global standards has severely damaged Nigeria’s reputation among the comity of nations.”

Also, the organization charged the National Assembly to amend the Electoral Act to accommodate what it called “full biometrics for accreditation and Electronic Collation of Results,” hence no alternative to electoral reforms to achieve this.

According to the group it has become imperative for members of NASS to focus on the electoral reforms, because of the strategic position it occupies, hence it’s clamouring for the reforms, which the 9th Assembly should consider as priority as well as  “a foremost legislative focus, ahead of governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States” while explaining why the reforms should be tested in the off-season elections.

The statement reads in part, “We will among other provisions in the Amendment Bill before the National Assembly by advocating for Full Biometrics for Accreditation, Electronic Collation of Results, Conduct of All-State (Governorship, House of Assembly) and Federal Elections (President, National Assembly) in One Day, Free Movement of Electorates to enable a wider voter participation, Election Finance Reform, as well as other important provisions.

“We believe that the 9th National Assembly has a responsibility to 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 electorate, 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.

“Elections in Nigeria, including the recent nationwide re-run elections, have repeatedly exposed the inherent loopholes and defects in our electoral process. This urgently requires electoral reforms which we believe must be prioritized as a foremost legislative focus, before the next governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states.”

The group also said the electoral amendment will address political consequences and socio-economic impact of sub-standard elections experienced in the electoral process and would prevent the endless anguish and fear on voters during Election Day.

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“Therefore, the 9th Senate and House of Representatives 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 in Nigeria’s democratic and electoral processes,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, the group also disclosed that the commencement of people-driven advocacy called Electoral Reform Advocacy (ERA) sponsored by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) has commenced ensuring the immediate passage of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2018 by the 9th National Assembly.

It would be recalled that the organization upon resumption of the 9th National Assembly for the 2020 legislative session on January 28, 2020, alongside a group of volunteers, had staged an urgent peaceful walk to the National Assembly to remind the federal lawmakers to prioritize the passage of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, to further demonstrate its commitment to free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.

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