CSOs push for quick passage of electoral bill, threaten to occupy NASS

A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) has called for the quick passage of the bill seeking an amendment into the nation’s electoral law.

The group, under the aegis of Alliance of Civil Society Organisations for Expansion of Electoral and Democratic Space (ACCESS),  also threatened to stage a protest to occupy the National Assembly if prompt action was not expedited on the bill by both chambers.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the coalition said the bill contained fresh innovations that would help to revolutionise the country’s electoral process, stressing that it was the only ‘panecea’ to the unrelenting attacks on facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in parts of the country.

The statement added that the passage of the bill was one of the cardinal responsibilities of the Senate.

“We are also concerned with the ongoing arson and destruction of the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which is casting doubts already on the 2023 general elections. We are of the view that the passage of the electoral act (amendment) bill remains the panacea for this ugly developing situation,” parts of the statement said.

“This is more or less based on the fact that the bill contains fresh provisions for digitalisation of the electoral process.

“We hereby give notice that if both houses of the National Assembly (the Senate and the House of representatives) continue their reluctance to the question of passage of the electoral act (amendment) bill, we will be left with no choice but to activate #OccupyNASS2 to push our demands.”






     

     

    The group included: The Electoral Hub, Centre for Liberty, Raising New Voices, Movement for Socialist Alternative and Aspilos Foundation.

    The leadership of the National Assembly had promised to pass the bill in June this year during a working visit to the British High Commissioner to Nigeria Catriona Laing in April, a development the UK welcomed.

    Rejected three times for various constitutional and drafting issues by President Muhammadu Buhari, the electoral bill was passed by the 8th Senate led by Bukola Saraki in 2019.

    The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has severally charged the president to show commitment to reform of the electoral system.

    You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

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