Electoral Bill: Civil Society Groups Declare February 22 National Day of Protest
- Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill is currently taking the front burner in the conversations around Nigeria's politics
- President Muhammadu Buhari, who is currently out of the country, continues to delay in giving his assent to the bill
- CSOs including Yiaga Africa, Situation Room, The Electoral Hub, Take Back Movement, Albino Foundation among others, say they will hit the streets soon
FCT, Abuja - A total of twenty-six (26) civil society groups have declared Tuesday, February 22 as a national day of protest on the Electoral Bill 2022.
The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) threatened they will hold street processions if President Muhammadu Buhari fails to sign the bill into law before the day.
In a statement sent to Legit.ng on Friday, February 18, the CSOs said:
“Aware that on the 31st January 2022, the National Assembly transmitted the Electoral Bill 2022 to the president for assent after expeditiously reworking the bill to meet the president's expectations.
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“Also, aware the bill allows electronic transmission of results, strengthens INEC’s financial independence and empower the commission to reject falsified election results.
“Further aware, the bill, when signed, requires INEC to issue a Notice of Election not later than 360 days before the day appointed for an election. Therefore, the president has to give assent to the bill on or before 22nd February 2022 if the dates announced for the 2023 elections are to be maintained.
“Concerned that the delay in granting presidential assent to the Electoral Bill, 2022 will create legal uncertainties that threaten the integrity of the off-cycle elections in Ekiti, Osun, and the 2023 general election, which is 366 days away.
“The civil society community resolves to declare Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, as the National Day of Protest to demand immediate assent to the bill.
“Civil society networks will organize peaceful public direct-action activities to further the demand to assent the bill. We urge citizens across the nation to call on President Buhari to act on this matter of urgent national importance.”
Earlier in the day, the CSOs addressed journalists in Abuja, recommending immediate actions for the president concerning the bill.
The recommendations include:
I. We call on President Buhari to, upon return from Brussels, sign the Electoral Bill into law on or before 22nd February 2022 to enable INEC to issue a Notice of Election and release the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general election.
II. Further amendments to the Electoral Bill 2022 can be proposed after assent has been granted. It is within the president’s prerogative to propose amendments after signing the bill as he did in the case of the Petroleum Industry Bill and 2022 Appropriation bill, an act that attracted commendation.
III. The National Assembly should ensure gazetted copies of the Electoral Act 2022 are available to citizens as soon as the bill is signed into law.
The CSOs include Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Yiaga Africa, Partners for Electoral Reform, International Press Centre, Institute for Media and Society, Nigerian Women Trust Fund, The Albino Foundation, Centre for Citizens with Disability, The Electoral Hub among others.
Electoral Bill: NLC vows to mobilise millions of its members for nationwide protest
Earlier, the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba 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 because time is running out.
Professor Jega asks Buhari to give nod to Electoral Bill, asks Buhari to give assent
Meanwhile, a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, at a recent event, called on President Buhari to give assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill on time.
Jega stated that INEC needs the law in place to begin serious preparations for the forthcoming 2023 elections.
He admitted that some issues in the bill need clarification, but added that other aspects of the document deserve the president's nod.