Nigerian CSOs Protest Delay In Signing Electoral Bill

A coalition of Civil Society Groups in Nigeria (CSOs) have commenced protest on the delay in signing the electoral act amendment bill 2022 by President Muhammadu Buhari.

LEADERSHIP reports that President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected the electoral act amendment bill five times in five years.

If President Buhari rejects the current bill before him, it will be the six times he will be rejecting the bill, the same man that promised to reform Nigerians electoral system.

Worried by the President delay which may forced the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the dates of the 2023 general elections, the CSOs organised a National Day of Protest to demand President Buhari’s assent to the Electoral Bill 2022 by today, 22nd February 2022.

According to the CSOs, if the President signs the bill today, it will allow INEC to release a Notice of Elections 360 days before the 2023 elections in compliance with the provisions of the Bill.

This paper had earlier reported that if Buhari did not sign the bill today Tuesday, INEC may shifts the dates of the 2023 elections.

The protesters who hold placards with inscriptions: “#sign the electoral bill now!,” President Buhari sign the Electoral Bill now,” ” President Muhammadu Buhari make history sign the electoral bill now!, ” Prevent electoral rigging,” No bill no electronic transmission of of results, #sign the electoral bill,” are gathered at the Unity Fountain in Abuja.

The protesters are led by the CSOs situation room leader, Amaka Obi, Executive Director of Yiaga Africa Samson Itodo among several others.

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People with disability, women and youths have all gathered, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the electoral bill.

The five times Buhari has declined assent to the Electoral Act Amendment bill in the last five years started in 2018.

In March 2018, Buhari rejected the Bill due to some provision that would usurp the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC’s) powers on electoral matters.

In July 2018, Buhari outrightly vetoed the Bill by refraining from making comments on it until the expiration of the 30 days’ timeline.

In September 2018, Buhari rejected the Bill on the basis of drafting errors and cross-referencing gaps.

In December 2018, Buhari again rejected the Bill because, according to him, it was too close to the 2019 General Election.

Also, Buhari rejected the current Bill in December 2021 based on the adoption of direct primaries as the only legally approved procedure for the nomination of candidates.

But CSOs have said that if the 2022 electoral act amendment bill suffers the same fate, it will amount to a subversion of popular will and national interest.

 

The CSOs that mobilised for the protest are: Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room; 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; Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ); Labour Civil Society Coalition (LASCO); Transition Monitoring Group; CLEEN Foundation and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC).

Others are: Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC); 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 Ready To Lead Africa.

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