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Prompt assent to electoral bill will aid efficient election, CSOs tells Buhari

Prompt assent to electoral bill will aid efficient election, CSOs tells Buhari
December 02
14:31 2021

Civil society organisations (CSOs) have advised President Muhammadu Buhari that the electoral bill requires timely assent.

On November 19, the national assembly transmitted the electoral bill to Buhari for assent.

This was after the senate and house of representatives had approved the conference committee report on the bill after months of scrutiny amid divergent positions. 

Reacting to this development, the CSOs, in a statement issued on Thursday, said timely assent of the new electoral bill will facilitate early preparations for the 2023 elections.

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They also said the bill contains provisions that will enhance credible and quality elections in the country, adding that it will also address certain gaps presently obtainable in the current electoral bill.

“The bill contains specific provisions that are directed at enhancing the quality and credibility of elections and address certain lacunas in the existing electoral legal framework,” the statement reads.

“Such provisions in the Bill include: Legal backing for the use of electoral technologies for the purpose of voter accreditation and electronic transmission of election results; extension of restrictive timelines for electoral activities, concise definition of over voting and the conferment of legal authority on INEC to review questionable election results.”

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While commending President Buhari for consulting his ministers and other stakeholders, the NGOs urged parties involved in the consultation to be guided by public interest so as to strengthen the country’s democracy. 

“It is our firm belief that the bill in its current state will not only encourage increased citizens’ participation in the electoral process, but it will also further enhance the capacity of the democratic institutions to improve the transparency and legitimacy of electoral outcomes,” the statement reads. 

“Furthermore, the timely assent to the Electoral Bill 2021 will facilitate early preparations and efficient election administration of the 2023 General Election, which is just 443 days away.”

The CSOs that signed the statement are Yiaga Africa, International Press Centre (IPC), Centre for Citizens with Disability (CCD), Albino Foundation, CLEEN Foundation, Institute for Media and Society (IMS), Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) and Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ).

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