2023: Hope rises as Buhari gets amended Electoral Bill for assent

2022-02-01
THE SUN NEWSPAPER

President Muhammedu Buhari has received the authenticated copies of the Electoral Bill 2022.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President of National Assembly Affairs (Senate), Babajide Omoworare, said the Clerk to the National Assembly, Olatunde Amos Ojo, transmitted the authenticated copies, yesterday.

According to Omoworare, “this was done in accordance with the provisions of Section 58 (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Acts Authentication Act Cap. A2 LFN 2004.

“Mr. President had withheld assent to the Electoral Bill 2021 transmitted to him on November 19, 2021. The Electoral Bill was thereafter reworked by the National Assembly and both the Senate and House of Representatives passed same on January 25, 2022.”

President Buhari had last December withheld assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, which he returned to the National Assembly.

In a letter read on the floor of the House on December 21, he said Section 87 which requires political parties to conduct only direct primaries was an infringement on the rights of the political parties to make their own choices.

Buhari had in the letter dated December 13, said the law could lead to significant increase in the cost of conducting elections, susceptible to manipulation and could increase the level of corruption in the country as those willing to contest elections may dip their hands into public funds to mobilise even non-members to vote for them. He added that opposition parties could also sponsor people to vote against popular candidates in an election to pave way for them.

Meanwhile, a coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs), yesterday, said it is set to engage the National Assembly on constitution review, electoral reforms, anti-corruption and other critical legislations relating to governance.
Executive Director, FixPolitics, Anthony Ubani, stated this at press briefing organised by the coalition in Abuja.

Ubani said the coalition, comprising FixPolitics Initiative, CISLAC, OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative among others, is interested in legislative governance, with the aim of elevating the citizens to their rightful place in the country’s democracy and legislative accountability for the common good.

According to him, the group has decided to organise ‘around the seminal and exclusive’ midterm reporting of the National Assembly delivered by an online news portal, OrderPaper from July 2021 till date.

“We hold the view that constructive engagements with the National Assembly can result in productive partnerships in the common interest of citizens. We hold the mandate of constituents and citizens to mount oversight over those elected into public office.

“We also acknowledge that legislators are elected by citizens to promote their interests. There is, therefore, a convergence in the roles we, as civil society, play with those played by members of parliament.

“Accordingly, we believe that both spectrums can collaborate and partner instead of maintaining adversarial relationships.
“We are optimistic that such collaboration can happen as is the case with the Open Government Partnership in Nigeria where state and non-state actors are actively joining forces to advance good governance and effective service delivery.

“We hereby serve notice that this cohort has outlined measures and activities to move our advocacy forward, including engaging with the leadership of the National Assembly on critical governance themes, like electoral reforms, constitutional amendment, anti-corruption, extractive transparency, and public finance management,” Ubani said.

 

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