The Alliance of Civil Society Organisations for Expansion of Electoral and Democratic Space (ACCESS) has called on the 9th National Assembly (NASS) to immediately enact and pass the Electoral Act 2021, saying this will guide the conduct of the Anambra state gubernatorial election scheduled for November 6.
It’s Spokesperson, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, made the call in Abuja during a peaceful #OccupyNASS Marche to the National Assembly to push for the passage of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021, adding that this will enable the INEC and other stakeholders to adjust to the new realities of conduct of elections ahead of subsequent circle of elections.
He expressed concerns on the failure by the National Assembly to meet the deadlines of December 20, 2020 and March 2021 it had set to pass the bill into law, stressing that it contains provisions such as e-voting that positively upgrade the current electoral system.
“A passage of the Electoral Bill will serve as a reassurance that the National Assembly is prepared to play her role in the entire process of salvaging the country.
“We are worried that the 9th National Assembly is yet to pass the new electoral Act despite engagements from the civil society Organizations in the last 15months. The Bill for an act to repeal the electoral Act No 5, 2020 as amended and enact the Independent National Electoral Commission Act 2021 remains the most important document before the the ninth assembly,” he said.
“There is no other time than now for the National Assembly to pass the Electoral Bill. The country is currently on cliff edge. The avalanche of terrorism, Banditry and kidnapping cast dark pall on the future of the Nigerian Federation.
“While the dates for the 2023 general elections have been fixed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the polls will suffer the usual crisis that bedevils elections without a coherent and comprehensive legal framework that reassures all sundry,” he noted.
Member of the Alliance Barrister Mojirayo Nkanya, called on the the NASS to be more concerned about sustaining Nigeria’s democracy through a free, fair and credible elections, adding that the only way to achieve this is by passing the electoral Act into law as it meets the current demands and realities of Nigeria.
Another member of the Alliance and Rights Activist, Usman Okai Austin, stressed the importance of the Electoral Act Bill, saying this will enable citizens elect the right leaders of their choice through a free and fair process and as well curb security challenges as citizens would have made their choices.