By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Center for Liberty, CFL, Wednesday, disclosed that over 5, 000 Nigerians have signed a petition demanding members of the National Assembly to halt going for their annual recess and address the protracted Electoral Act Amendment Bill and pass it into law.
This was made known by the Project Lead, CFL, Arroyo-Dare Atoye, saying that the petition was initiated by CFL, which Nigerians are calling on NASS to give priority to the Bill following more elections to be conducted in some parts of the country including the general election of 2023, hence the Electoral Act 2020 (Repeal and Re-enactment).
CFL is a non-governmental organization that is presently focused on Electoral Reforms including other issues that concern the socio-political lives of Nigerians as bordering on democratic governance and social change.
According to Atoye the 9th Senate had since stayed action on the Bill for an Act to Amend the Electoral Act (No. 6) 2010 and Other Related Matters, 2019,’ sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie-OmoAgege, which was passed for second reading, earlier this year in March 2020.
Some of the contents of the petition include the Citizens Charter of Demand to the National Assembly for the year 2020, the interest of Nigeria’s democracy; Electoral Reform will guide the country to her destined path of Credible Elections and Electoral Justice, and others.
The petition reads in part, “Electoral Reforms now represent a major Citizens Charter of Demand to the National Assembly for the year 2020. Ten years after the Electoral Act 2010 was passed, Nigerians are eager to have the Electoral Act 2020 (Repeal and Re-enactment).
“We dare say that there is no better legacy on Electoral Reforms than to give Nigerians a brand new act this year. It is now the most sought-after legislation in the country by the generality of the people. And, with the modest effort already made by the 8th Session of the National Assembly on Electoral Reforms, in which the current principal officers were major actors, the people are of the firm opinion that Electoral Act 2020 should be a walk in the park for the 9th.
“This is coupled with the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari had expressed his willingness to sign the last amended version forwarded to him, only if the ‘Electoral Act will come into effect commencing after the 2019 General Elections.’ An indication that we almost had the bill signed, except that the current idea of Repeal and Re-enactment is a welcome development.
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“We are, therefore, compelled by the reasons above to, in the best interest of Nigeria’s democracy and her overall well-being, earnestly entreat the Nigerian Senate to halt its plans to go on its annual recess this year until the Electoral Reform Bill is passed.”
The petition concluded by appealing to NASS to treat their demand as a critical and urgent national issue that can no longer be delayed or keep in view as it explained that “Electoral Reform will guide the country to her destined path of Credible Elections and Electoral Justice.”
“We further acknowledge that this would likely cause inconveniences to distinguished lawmakers, but as has been evident in this trying time, the Nigerian people need the effervescent direction of its leadership strata at all levels, and in this case, Electoral Reform will guide the country to her destined path of Credible Elections and Electoral Justice, just as it will cast the name of the members of the Ninth Hallowed Chamber in gold,” the petition added.