A non governmental organisation, Centre for Advancement of Civil Liberties and Development(CFL), has, in order to salvage the country from electoral misfortunes ahead of 2023 general elections, called for immediate passage of Electoral Reforms Bill 2020, by the National Assembly.
A letter dated July 8th, 2020 and signed by conveners of the group, Messrs Ariyo-Dare Atoye and Adebayo Raphael, said hearkening to the demand would help the country to recover from shoddy elections and their attendants judicial crises in Nigeria.
A copy of the letter addressed to the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan for onward transmission to the upper Chambers of the National Assembly, was made available to newsmen in Ado -Ekiti, on Wednesday.
The Conveners averred that the expeditious amendment of the Electoral Act (No. 6), 2010 and Other Related Matters, 2019 would align with the several verdicts of the supreme courts that the nation needed holistic electoral reforms that can salvage the nation from impending danger.
The group agreed with the position canvassed by the sponsor of the Bill and the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie-Omo Agege, describing electoral reform as an “extremely important national assignment,” which the group said made it imperative for the Senate to tinker with the extant Electoral Act.
The group said: “It is painful
that Nigeria has missed a golden opportunity to test-run the practicability of the amendments in the proposed Electoral Bill in the forthcoming Edo and Ondo States governorship elections.
“The CFL is convinced that the passage of the proposed Bill can be achieved this year (2020), should the Senate be willing to dedicate more time and zeal to the process.
“Most instructive is the fact that Electoral Reforms now represent a major citizens charter of Demand to the National Assembly for the year 2020. 10 years after Electoral Act 2010 was passed, Nigerians are eager to have Electoral Act 2020 (Repeal and Re-enactment).
“We dare say that 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 Senate.”
The group added that the Senate should complement the positive body language of President Muhammadu Buhari, who 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.
The group advised the Nigerian Senate to halt its plans to go on annual recess this year until the Electoral Reform Bill is passed, not minding the inconveniences, for it will be in the interest of their constituents.
Reeling out the benefits inherent in the passage, the CFL said, the new electoral reform will guide the country to her destined path of credible elections and electoral justice.
The group applauded the Senate for passing the Police Act amendment Bill, 2020 and the anti-sexual harassment Bill that will stem sexual harassment of students in tertiary institutions.