BREAKING: We’ve Confidence, Buhari Sign Electoral Bill
Information reaching Naija News House says that Buhari Sign Electoral Bill
AS anxiety builds ahead of 2023 general elections, Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, under the auspices of Civil Society Partners on Electoral Reform, Sunday, expressed confidence over President Muhammadu Buhari’s signing of the Electoral Amendment Act Bill as there are strong indications to that effect.
This was stated in a an open letter to Buhari and signed by the Executive Director, Adopt A Goal for Development Initiative, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, Maryam Ahmed of Centre for Liberty, Jude Feranmi of Raising New Voices, Ken Eze of Speak Out Africa Initiative, and Simi Olusola of The Nigerian Alliance.
According to the group, as Mr President celebrates his birthday this week the bill will be signed as birthday gift to Nigerians.
The letter reads in part, “We write on behalf of millions of Nigerians to urge you to invite the representatives of critical stakeholders to the Electoral Act signing ceremony.
“We are confident that this week of your birthday will avail you of the opportunity to renew your pact with Nigerians and sign the Electoral Amendment bill into law
“We are more than convinced that the fulfilment of your pledge to the nation to make available to INEC everything they need [including signing the Electoral Act 2021] to operate efficiently could significantly help to improve Nigeria’s global democratic rating and put you in a good standing among world leader.
“As the clock ticks, we are increasingly assured that you will side with the people and act in the overriding public interest to give your assent to the electoral bill as a legacy for deepening electoral reforms and strengthening our democracy.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that this new electoral act will help to put in place the necessary legal framework to build back better democratic institutions and sustainable democratic values, as you rightly told world leaders at President Biden’s summit.”
The CSOs also mentioned that Buhari’s statement at the Virtual Summit on Democracy organised by President Joe Biden of the United States encouraged them, where he said that he will ensure “elections are conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner.
“It may interest you to know, Mr President, that the Biden administration is already facing some criticism for its guest list for the virtual summit, and Nigeria is fingered as one of the “nations with spotty records on democracy, the rule of law and human rights,” as reported by the international media.
“We are glad that you used the occasion of the global summit to state unequivocally that democratic rule in the West African sub-region “is currently being threatened by undemocratic takeover of government by the military.
“That is why Mr President must be mindful of a few political merchants asking you not to sign the electoral bill because their greedy hold on the political parties will be threatened. They do not mean well”, the letter adds.
However, the group expressed hope and pointed that,“It gladdens our hearts that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has dismissed the phantom N500bn cost; we as CSOs have equally provided alternative facts and figures, and the presidency has debunked the fake news and rumours that President Buhari has rejected the electoral bill.
“However, more is required of Mr President to sign the electoral bill before December 19 and ensure that “democratic institutions and processes are strengthened, particularly during this period of a global pandemic which has threatened social cohesion in most democracies.
“Let’s do it Mr President. You can use the signing of this bill to renew the hope and commitment of Nigerians to the electoral and political project and strengthen us to overcome voter apathy.”
Meanwhile, the group demanded that invitation of various groups for a meeting to grace signing of the bill is necessary by the President as an indication of inclusivity.
“President, your invitation to the representatives of youth and women groups, people living with disabilities, and the civil society to grace the electoral bill signing ceremony will go a long way in assuring Nigerians and the International community of your commitment to inclusive participation in our democratic process,” it added.