Civil society groups have called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill without delay in the advancement of democracy.
Some state governors were reported to be against the new law but the Anti-Corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative and Adopt A Goal for Development Initiative, in separate statements on Sunday, asked the President to ignore the lobbyists and assent the bill immediately.
The Executive Secretary, ARDI, Chief Dennis Aghanya, advised Buhari not to listen to those against the electoral bill for selfish reasons, adding that he would be writing his name in gold if he signed the bill, noting that “generations unborn will remember him as the father of a new democratic Nigeria.”
He stated, “Now that the National Assembly has transmitted the Electoral Act Amendment Bill to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent, he shouldn’t delay a second in signing it into law to engrave his name in gold for the advancement of our democracy.
“Our problem as a country has never been our differences in religion or ethnicity but bad leadership which has always failed to harness our God-given natural and human resources and that is why the clauses for the electronic transmission of results by INEC and direct primaries by political parties during congresses must not be compromised, no matter the lobbying by some of the Governors against it. We highly commend the National Assembly for this bold initiative.”
The Executive Director, Adopt A Goal for Development Initiative, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, enjoined the President to rise above elite political conspiracy threatening the legislation and sign it into law.
Atoye stated this in a statement titled, ‘New Electoral Act Bill: Why Buhari must act immediately,’ endorsed by the Centre for Liberty, Raising New Voices, Youth and Students Advocates for Development Initiative, NESSACTION, The Nigerian Alliance, The Art and Civics Table and Speak Out Africa Initiative.
The coalition urged the President to demonstrate statesmanship, courage, and avoid “the needless Governors versus National Assembly controversy and side with the people of Nigerians who are eager to have the act in operation before the end of 2021.”
According to the partners, “The amendments and innovative provisions in the new electoral act bill are significant legal frameworks good enough to reinvigorate the electoral process, engender credibility and win the confidence of Nigerians in our elections.
“We wish to inform President Buhari that the Governors versus National Assembly controversy over modes of party primaries is not sufficient to delay the signing of the bill because the success or failure of party primaries is mainly due to the character of politicians and not the system.”
“There is no law that is 100 per cent perfect; consequently, we urge the President to sign this bill and allow the country to test the new amendments and exclusive provisions in the new electoral act at the remaining off-cycle elections in the country,” they advocated.