CSOs Declare Feb 22 National Day Of Protest To Demand Buhari’s Assent To Electoral Bill.
Twenty-six civil society organizations have chosen February 22 to be a “national day of protest” to urge President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the electoral act change bill into law.
The president has previously rejected consent to the bill, expressing concerns about the idea of direct primaries for political parties, according to Ijaw News.
Compulsory direct primaries for political parties, according to the president, “break the spirit of democracy.”
The senate and house of representatives later repealed the clause, and lawmakers replaced it with one that allows political parties to elect their candidates using direct, indirect, or consensus means.
On January 31, the president was sent an updated version of the bill.
The CSOs stated in a statement released on Friday that if the schedule for the 2023 general election announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is to stand, Buhari must sign the bill before February 22.
“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,” the statement reads.
“The bill allows electronic transmission of results, strengthens INEC’s financial independence and empowers the commission to reject falsified election results.
“The bill, when signed, requires INEC to issue 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.
“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 organise peaceful public direct-action activities to further the demand to assent the bill. We urge citizens across the nation to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to act on this matter of urgent national importance.”
The signatories to the statement are listed as follows:
- Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room
- Yiaga Africa
- Partners for Electoral Reform (PER)
- International Press Centre
- Institute for Media and Society
- Nigerian Women Trust Fund
- The Albino Foundation
- Centre for Citizens with Disability
- Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ)
- Labour Civil Society Coalition (LASCO)
- Transition Monitoring Group
- CLEEN Foundation
- Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
- Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC)
- Nigeria Network of Non-Governmental Organisations (NNNGO)
- Inclusive Friends Association (IFA)
- Enough is Enough
- The Electoral Hub
- Centre for Liberty
- Take Back Nigeria Movement
- International Peace and Civic Responsibility Centre (IPCRC)
- 100 Women Lobby Group
- Women in Politics Forum
- Raising New Voices
- Millennials Active Citizenship Advocacy Africa
- Ready To Lead Africa