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Group Calls For early passage of the electoral Act ammendment bill

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Group Calls For early passage of the electoral Act ammendment bill

By Janet Samuel                      

A group of Civil Rights Organisations interested in electoral reforms has called on the National Assembly to speed up the process for the passage of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, as they also ask President Muhammadu Buhari not to hesitate in assenting to the bill

This they said will deliver a brand new Electoral Act 2021 to Nigerians ahead of the 2021 Democracy Day celebration on 12 June.

The group is made up of, the Centre for Citizens with Disability (CCD); Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD); CLEEN Foundation; Inclusive Friends Association (IFA); Institute for Media and Society (IMS); International Press Centre (IPC); Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI); National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) and Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund (NWTF)

Others are; Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa (PAACA); Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC); Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ); The Albino Foundation (TAF); and Yiaga Africa.

The group which converged in front of the National Assembly on Wednesday demanded the speedy passage of the Electoral Amendment Bill, noting that the urgent need for reforming the Electoral Legal Framework is founded on the broad-based consensus by relevant stakeholders on the essence of credible and improved electoral process.

In a statement co-signed by the coveners at the National Assembly, the group recalled that in December 2020, the National Assembly held a Public hearing on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill which provided opportunity for citizens and stakeholders to participate and make their inputs to the electoral reform process.

They recalled that the Senate President at the time promised Nigerians a new Electoral Act by March 2021, however they obserde that the timeline has come and gone.

According to the group,

“The seeming lack of progress in the National Assembly on the Electoral Act Amendment bill is therefore worrisome. Nigerians demand that their elected representatives respond to the urgent need for an electoral legal framework that genuinely strengthens the electoral processes and procedures, to promote inclusivity and addresses impunity.

“The continued delay in concluding the process is reminiscent of the failed process in 2018 and attendant impact on the 2019 General Election”, they said.

They also recalled that the National Assembly, under the leadership of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawal and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, promised Nigerians a people-responsive Electoral Act by the first quarter of 2021.
“We are now in the second quarter of 2021 and the Electoral Act Amendment Bill is yet to be presented for third and final reading in both chambers of the National Assembly.
They added that the process is required before the Bill can be transmitted to the President for his assent.

They further emphasized that in considering the Bill, NASS must take into account the citizens’ priority issues to address identified gaps in the current electoral legal framework.

They listed the priority issues to include the strengthening of the financial and operational independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
Another priority according to them is the publication of Polling Unit level results by INEC to promote transparency in the result collation and transmission process;
They also demanded that the protection of the voting rights of the blind and visually impaired voters should be taken as another priority.
They harped on the reduction in the cost of nomination of candidates to promote a level playing field for all contestants.
They also demanded the promotion of the inclusion of women, youth, and persons with disability in politics
Fir them legitimizing the use of technology in the electoral process with particular emphasis on the biometric voter register, biometric accreditation of voters; electronic voting, electronic collation and transmission of results at every election should be a serious priority

The indicated that impunity can be brought to the barest minimum with the establishment of the Electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal
Improving election security and promoting professionalism as well as non-partisanship in the conduct of security personnel on election duty will go a long way in making the process credible.
They also want the Introduction of early/special voting for Nigerians on essential election duty
Accirding to them Elimination of the impact of judicial actions on citizens’ will enhance choices that reflect the elections of the electorate.
They stated that the Ninth Assembly has an obligation to work expeditiously on passing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 and pass same to the President for assent.

“This is an urgent national priority together with Nigerians, we firmly believe that if the current electoral legal framework is not reviewed and reformed, it will have negative impact and consequences for democratic consolidation.
“The NASS must recognise that passing the Electoral Bill in good time will engender expeditious action by the executive.

“The speedy enactment of the Bill will give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the legal clarity to adequately plan and efficiently conduct future elections, particularly the Anambra governorship election scheduled for 6 November 2021″, the group concluded.

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PDP in Kogi accuses APC of defacing its secretariat

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***asks ruling party to stop beating drums of violence

Kogi State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has condemned the action of some elements in Odolu Ward, lgalamela/Odolu Local Government Area of the state for defacing its Secretariat with the inscription of the All Progressives Congress, (APC).
In a statement through its publicity Secretary, Bode Ogunmola, the party, said the action is tantamount to beating the drum of violence.
It reminded those who carried out the action that madness is not the exclusive rights of any political party, noting that the action is tantamount to wanting to forcefully secure the property.
The PDP in the statement said such has never happened in the political history of the state, adding that, the APC and particularly those who perpetrated the act, are driving the state on a dangerous path.
While calling on security agencies to fish out the perpetrators, the PDP, advised the APC to call its attack dogs to order and stop further heating the polity in the interest of peace across the state.
The party remind the APC that politically instigated violence would serve no good to anyone.

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2023: Nasarawa speaker drums support for Gov. Sule’s second term bid

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From Umar Egbunu Muhammed, Lafia

The Speaker, Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Mr. Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi, has said that there is no alternative to Governor Abdullahi Sule and All Progressive Congress ( APC) in the state come 2023.

Addressing stakeholders in his home town in Umaisha,Toto LGA of the state, the speaker described Governor Sule as a leader with great passion and zeal for peace, Unity and speedy growth of the State, hence the need for all to rally round the governor to succeed.

“The handwriting is very clear on the wall. as far as I’m concerned, in Nasarawa State we have no any other candidate to fueld in 2023 apart from Governor Sule.

“Every state, every country, every local area and so on, elect leaders that will give result and with the antecedence of Governor Sule, especially some of us that are working closely with him know very well that his project, his dream, his thinking day and night is all about Nasarawa State”

“So what else do we want than to give him all the necessary support to succeed and transformed our beloved state because if God spare our lives and by his grace, Sule will serve out his eight Years, he said.

The speaker emphasized the fact that peace is priceless as the first instrument of development, hence the need for all to give the Governor the support in his peace and development efforts to encourage more investors to the state to boost socio-economic activities.

According to him, the State assembly under his watch will give Governor Sule maximum support and cooperation to succeed beyond expectation as he reiterated that the assembly will continue to enact laws and pass resolutions that will be of the best interest of the the people of the state.

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Tinubu, Atiku should stop wasting their time, Igboman will be Nigeria’s President in 2023, says Ibegbu

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The immediate past spokesman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chuks Ibegbu, has asked the national Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former vice President Atiku Abubakar stire ckear asit is time for Ibo man to rule Nigeria.

In a statement he signed and issued o Saturday, he promised to use his connection to build bridges with all stakeholders, groups and power points in the country to realise his ambition.

Ibegbu noted that the “Nigeria Presidency is not gotten by sentiments, threats or emotions but through diplomatic persuasion and he will reach out to all Nigerian stakeholders and party leaders to achieve that.”

Ibegbu noted that there has to be political, economic and structural justice in the nation.

He urged people of the Southeast to put their acts together in the pursuit of their legitimate rights in Nigeria as he condemned the killings all over the country.

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