- Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill is currently taking the front burner in the Nigerian Senate
- Lawmakers had earlier promised that the bill would be reintroduced as soon as they resume in January 2021
- But a recent twist introduced by the Senate has triggered another round of protests from civil society groups
FCT, Abuja - Civil Society groups have rejected the Nigerian Senate’s introduction of consensus as a mode for the nomination of candidates in the Electoral Bill 2021.
In a statement sent to Legit.ng on Wednesday, January 19, the groups commended the swift action taken by the National Assembly upon resumption to review its position on direct primaries as the sole mode for nomination of candidates in the Electoral Bill 2021.
They, however, rejected the decision of the Senate to introduce a completely new mode of “consensus” as a procedure for candidates’ nominations.
The group said in the statement:
PAY ATTENTION: Subscribe to Digital Talk newsletter to receive must-know business stories and succeed BIG!
“The consensus mode is antithetical to democratic principles and will result in the subversion of popular will.
“Furthermore, it violates the rights of aspirants to equal participation in party primaries and limits the choice of voters to candidates who did not emerge from democratic primary elections. Judging from experience, consensus has occasioned a litany of litigations in Nigeria’s electoral process.
“We call on the Senate to, in line with the popular will of Nigerians, adopt the position of the House of Representatives which now recognizes direct and indirect primaries as the procedure for nomination of candidates.
“With this development, a harmonization committee will now have to be constituted by the leadership of the National Assembly to harmonize the divergent positions of both chambers thereby delaying the speedy conclusion of the process.
Petrol Price Hike: NLC dares FG, insists on national protest, vows to shut down economy from February 1
“We, therefore, call for the immediate withdrawal of this new introduction which is alien to the original Electoral Bill 2021 to speed up the work of the harmonization committee and conclusion of the amendment process on or before the 21 January 2022 deadline.
“As indicated in our earlier statement, any further delay will undermine public confidence in the reform process and therefore unacceptable.”
The statement was signed by Yiaga Africa, the International Press Centre, Centre for Citizens with Disability, The Albino Foundation, CLEEN Foundation, Institute for Media and Society, Nigerian Women Trust Fund, Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, Partners for Electoral Reform, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre among others.
Electoral Bill: PDP governors urge National Assembly to override Buhari’s veto
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum recently urged the National Assembly to immediately conclude issues surrounding the Electoral Act Amendment Bill by overriding President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto.
The forum made the call in a communique at the end of its meeting on Monday, January 17 in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital.
In the communique read by its chairman and Sokoto state governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, the governors said that overriding Buhari’s veto would quicken resolution of the issue and not provide the president another opportunity to delay the signing of the bill by withholding assent again.
Electoral Bill: NLC vows to mobilise millions of its members for nationwide protest
Meanwhile, the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba has declared that Nigerian workers will hit the streets across the country to force the Buhari administration to sign the 2021 Electoral Bill.
Comrade Wabba said Nigerian federal lawmakers should be proactive in ensuring the approval of the bill before the 2023 elections.
He said the NLC expects the 'needful' to be done by the lawmakers before the end of January 2021.