By Femi Ogunshola
Abuja, July 22, 2020 About 5000 Nigerians have signed an online petition calling on National Assembly to consider electoral reforms and halt its annual vacation until the Electoral Act Amendment Bill is addressed.
Mr Ariyo-Dare Atoye, the Project Lead, Center for Liberty (CFL) made the call said in a statement made available to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said the online petition on chnge.org, initiated by CFL, an NGO, focused on electoral reforms, among other core issues bordering on democratic governance and social change in Nigeria.
It would be recalled that the 9th Senate had since stayed action on the Bill for an Act to Amend the Electoral Act (No. 6) 2010 and Other Related Matters, 2019.
The bill was sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ovie-Omo Agege, which was passed for second reading in March 2020.
Atoye said Nigerians were entreating members of the national assembly to put personal interest aside by giving the country Electoral Act 2020.
According to the petition, electoral reforms now represent a major citizens charter of demand to the National Assembly for the year 2020.
“Ten years after electoral act 2010 was passed, Nigerians are eager to have Electoral Act 2020.
“We dare say that there is no better legacy on electoral reforms than to give Nigerians a brand new act this year,” he said.
Ariyo said electoral reform was the most sought-after legislation in the country by Nigerians, stressing that with the effort already made by the 8th assembly, electoral Act 2020 should be a walk in the park for the 9th assembly.
He said that coupled with the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari had expressed willingness to sign the last amended version forwarded to him.
“This is an indication that that we almost had the bill signed, except that the current idea of repeal and re-enactment is a welcome development.
“We are compelled by these reasons in the best interest of Nigeria’s democracy and her overall wellbeing, entreat the Nigerian Senate to halt its plans to go on its annual recess until Electoral Reform Bill is passed.
“We further acknowledge that this would likely cause inconveniences to distinguished lawmakers, but Nigeria needs the support of its leadership strata this time.’’