26 Joint Civil Society Organisations has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to announced new dates for the 2023 General Elections.
According to the CSOs, since the new electoral act provides for 360 days notice for the election by INEC, said the dates earlier announced have expired adding that INEC should urgently announce the new election dates.
In a joint statement issued following the signing of the Electoral Bill, 2022 into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, on 25 February, 2022, the CSO said the action mark a huge milestone in Nigerian’s quest to consolidate electoral democracy.
The CSOs are: ActionAid Nigeria; Yiaga Africa; Partners for Electoral Reform (PER); International Press Centre; Institute for Media and Society; Nigerian Women Trust Fund; The Albino Foundation; Centre for Citizens with Disability; Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development; Transition Monitoring Group; CLEEN Foundation; Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC).
Others are: Nigeria Network of Non-Governmental Organizations (NNNGO); Inclusive Friends Association (IFA); Enough is Enough; The Electoral Hub; Centre for Liberty; Take Back Nigeria Movement; International Peace and Civic Responsibility Centre (IPCRC); 100 Women Lobby Group; Women in Politics Forum; Raising New Voices; Millennials Active Citizenship Advocacy Africa and ReadyToLeadAfrica.
“The new Electoral Act, 2022 which incorporates innovative provisions that will enhance credibility of our electoral process, signifies a new era in the history of elections in Nigeria. More importantly, the new Electoral Act symbolises the commitment of Nigerians to remain consistent in the demand for credible, free, inclusive, transparent and fair elections.
“We, as civil society commend the President for fulfilling his promise of assenting to the Electoral Bill. We also commend the National Assembly for their responsiveness in ensuring the Bill substantially reflects the will of the Nigerian people and for transmitting same to the President upon Citizens demands as laid back in January 2022.
“We commend and congratulate Nigerians for their active participation and vigilance in engaging the electoral reform process since inception. Civil Society Organisations, and the Media deserve special commendation for their steadfastness, resilience and sustaining the pressure for successful completion of the electoral reform process. We also acknowledge the contributions of the development partners as well as other stakeholders that have consistently provided support towards the electoral reform process.
“Among other important provisions, this Electoral Act reviews timelines for election activities. For instance, the new Act requires the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a Notice of Election not later than 360 days to the next General Election. We call on INEC to as a matter of urgency issue a notice of election and announce new dates for the 2023 General Elections,” the statement said.
“The undersigned CSOs call on the National Assembly to ensure gazetted copies of the Electoral Act 2022 are available to citizens and election stakeholders in a timely manner. We note that a delay in this will further reduce the opportunities for citizen’s and stakeholders to sufficiently familiarise with provisions in the new Act and support its implementation.
“This Electoral Act 2022, is a product of a consistent citizen’s actions and effective partnerships towards reforming Nigeria’s electoral process. History will reckon with this dedication towards building our electoral democracy,” the statement added.