By Angela Atabo
Abuja, Oct. 2, 2020 Coalition for Constitutional and Electoral Reforms has called on the National Assembly to integrate the use of technology into the electoral process.
The coalition made the call in a statement signed by Mr Ariyo Atoye of Centre for Liberty; Yetunde Bakare of Yiaga Africa; and Eniola Cole of NESSACTION.
Others are Banke Oyeniyi and Jude Feranmi both of Raising New Voices Initiative; as well as Seun Awogbenle of Millennial Active Citizenship Advocacy Africa.
The coalition said that the group’s aim was to demand for action from lawmakers on the electoral amendment bill.
“We as a coalition, specifically demand for established framework to strengthen the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and ensure its financial independence.
“We also demand the inclusion of all marginalised groups, transparency in campaign financing and provision of a framework to ensure the enforcement of our electoral laws, among others.
“While it is noteworthy that the National Assembly has already commenced work on the electoral amendment bill, we have more than enough reason to believe that the process has not been given the urgency, and attention that it deserves.
“However, in the light of recent commitments made by some National Assembly members toward ensuring that electoral reform tops its priority list, we are optimistic that it will be achieved by December 2020.’’
It said that the coalition appreciated the efforts of over 11,000 Nigerians who signed the petition for electoral reforms, thereby reiterating the need for the realisation of the December time frame in delivering the new Electoral Act.
It said that this was necessary so as not to be distracted by heightened politicking ahead of the 2023 general elections.
He said that it was also crucial to INEC’s readiness in its efforts to conduct hitch-free elections, going forward.
The group said that the commitments displayed by the National Assembly and its leadership resonated with the deep yearnings of the totality of Nigerian citizens whose interest the members represented and swore to protect.
“If truly, the National Assembly is anchored on the fabrics of citizen’s power, then it is therefore a matter of obligation on the part of the National Assembly to concede to the collective demand of citizens by ensuring that electoral reform is achieved.
“They should incorporate all aspects relating to an improved election environment and processes that guarantee free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.’’
It said that this was because the group believed that Nigerians deserved a better nation with quality leadership, and the fundamental bedrock for achieving this was having a free and fair electoral process.
This, it said, could only occur through the amendment efforts of the 9th National Assembly.
The group called on citizens and all relevant stakeholders in the forthcoming election in Ondo to draw inspiration from the conduct of the Edo election and improve on the wins recorded by not dropping the ball.
It urged them to refrain from any act that could undermine the integrity of the elections.
It also advised young people not to allow themselves to be used as willing tools by politicians to disrupt the process.
It said that registered voters were encourage to come out and vote with their voter cards and to abide by all necessary election and COVID-19 related guidelines and safety protocols throughout the process.
The coalition implored INEC to remain impartial and double-up in its efforts to conduct free, fair, and credible elections.
It also called on relevant security agencies, particularly the Nigerian Police Force, to ensure the safety of citizens and electoral materials.