Worried by the continuous delay over the passage of the Electoral Act 2021, SING Nigeria has joined other Civil Society Organisations to demand the immediate passage of the Act which is believed will ensure the integrity of the electoral process. This was as the group gave the legislatures June 9, 2021 ultimatum for which they must expedite actions to pass the bill.
In a signed statement, the group which come under the umbrella of the Alliance of Civil Society Organizations for Expansion of Electoral and Democratic Space (ACCESS), expressed concern over the non-passage of the long overdue bill, and called on the lawmakers to demonstrate patriotism and commitment to free, fair and credible elections.
The statement read in part: “We are worried that Nigeria’s 9th National Assembly is yet to pass the new Electoral Act despite our engagement of the National Assembly as a Civil Society in the last 15 months. The “Bill for an Act to Repeal the Electoral Act No. 5, 2010 (As Amended) and enact the Independent National Electoral Commission Act 2021” remains the most important document before the ninth National Assembly.
“Indeed, Nigerians are concerned that the leadership of the National Assembly has failed to meet the two deadlines (December 20, 2020 and March 2021) set for the passage of the Bill. We have it on good authority that the Joint Committee of the National Assembly has completed the Technical Process and the Bill is ready for Third and Final Reading. Thus, we are left to believe until proven otherwise that the leaderships of the two Houses of the National Assembly are obstructing the transmission of the same to the Plenary.”
The group called on the National Assembly leaderships to take actions that will convince Nigerians that it’s not colluding with the Executive in bids to scuttle the conduct of elections in the country beginning from the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra and the 2023 general elections.
While threatening to take further actions to push it cause if positive response was not seen to have been taken by the lawmaker at the expiration of the ultimatum, the group explained that the passage of the Electoral Act 2021 will “bring much advancement to our electoral system by ensuring biometric (electronic) accreditation of voters and electronic transmission of results (votes), while capturing the 10-for-10 sacrosanct citizens’ demands already submitted by CSOs to the National Assembly.”
Speaking at the march which was christened #OccupyNASStoday, 19th May, 2021 at the National Assembly Complex, the programme officer of SING Nigeria, Musa Olatunji said that the CSOs group is deeply concerned about the continuous delay, and pointed out that Nigerians will not allow a repeat of the excuses that led to the President declining accent to the earlier bill.
Musa said that securing the integrity of the nation’s electoral process remains an important step in the journey to good governance, and called on the National Assembly to work towards the speedy passage of the Act.
The statement was also endorsed by Center for Liberty, Movement for Socialist Alternative, Raising New Voices, Yiaga Africa, Electoral Hub, NESS Action.
Other CSOs are: Leadership and Accountability Initiative, MON Legal, Arise Nigeria Youth and Voter Education Nigeria.