By Gabriel Ewepu
CIVIL Society Organisations under the auspices of Coalition for Constitutional and Electoral Reforms, CCER, Monday, demanded National Assembly to do the wish of Nigerians on new legislation that captures electronic transmission of results and use of technology in the electoral process.
This was contained in a statement signed by leaders of CSOs including Centre for Liberty, NESSACTION, Millennials Active Citizenship Advocacy Africa, Raising New Voices, and Yiaga Africa.
The coalition pointed that NASS members have a binding constitutional responsibility to act in the overall interest of Nigerians by adopting and passing new and salient provisions in the Electoral Bill.
The statement reads in part: “As the National Assembly resumes plenary for the 2021 legislative business, the Coalition for Constitutional and Electoral Reforms (CCER) wants the Parliament to know that Nigerians will only welcome a new legislation that captures electronic transmission of results and legitimize the use of technology in the electoral process.
“Lawmakers have a binding constitutional responsibility to act in the overall interest of the people, by adopting and passing new and salient provisions favoured by all Nigerians in the Electoral Bill.
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“Nigerians seek an enduring electoral reform that will address the deficits in the electoral system viz provision for electronic transmission and publication of results, full biometrics for accreditation and the need for spending limits on cost of nomination forms among other things.
“As CSOs, we have highlighted and sent to the National Assembly, 10 irreducible demands by Nigerians, which the lawmakers must adopt to make the new electoral bill a people’s legislation.
“We reiterate our call for the quick passage of the Electoral Amendment Bill in the first quarter of 2021, as promised by the leaderships of NASS and the committee on electoral reforms. We consider this imperative, as this will also guarantee timely assent from the President at least before the commencement of the Anambra 2020 electoral process.
“We are convinced that the off-season elections: the 2021 Anambra governorship election; the 2022 Ekiti and Osun governorship elections would help to strengthen the implementation of the new provisions ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“The National Assembly is to be bold and courageous in meeting the expectation of Nigerians by passing a new Act that would address the deficits in the electoral system, guarantee enduring electoral reforms and strengthen the credibility of our elections.”
The statement also made it clear that “No institution can function outside of its legal framework, and based on our experiences through the years supporting Nigeria’s elections as accredited election observer, groups and CSOs, we find that timing is one of the most essential aspects of the electoral process.
“Election is not a single day event, the process that would determine the outcome of the 2023 general elections has already commenced with the putting together of this new electoral amendment bill and the process must be done to meet the yearnings of Nigerians.”