AS political events set to gather momentum ahead of 2023 general elections, Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, Saturday, called on the members of the National Assembly, to consider the much anticipated Electoral Act Amendment Bill as a national emergency.
The call was made by the Executive Director, Adopt A Goal for Development Initiative, Ariyo-Dare Atoye while speaking with Sunday Vanguard.
Atoye also urged members to resume earlier than the January 18 date of resumption in the national interest as far as the bill is concerned.
He said: “This is a clarion call to the National Assembly to consider the passage of the Amended Electoral Bill as a national legislative emergency and resume earlier than the January 18, 2022 date.
“Upon resumption, the National Assembly has the powers to suspend the house rules in both the Senate and House of Representatives and commit the bill to an express legislative business, and we urge them to do so.
“In the process, the National Assembly must take an immediate decision to override the executive veto or rework section 87 on the mode of primaries, accommodate the cross-referencing errors spotted CSOs and transmit the bill to the President for his assent.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission needs a new electoral legal framework to deal with uncertainty and ensure it can legally and psychologically prepare the country for free, fair and credible elections.”
Speaking on governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States respectively, he called on the Independent National Electoral Commission. INEC, to prepare adequately for a credible electoral process considering its performance in conducting the Anambra State governorship election.
“Since the party primaries for Ekiti and Osun are scheduled to take place in January and February, INEC is expected to continue with the preparation for the June and July governorship elections in the two states.
“We expect INEC to do better in Ekiti and Osun States by improving on the gaps noticed with technology usage during the Anambra governorship poll.
“There is no going back on using technology for the coming off-cycle elections to ensure free, fair, credible, and transparent outcomes and equally prepare the country for the 2023 general elections”, he pointed.
However, he (Atoye) disclosed activities his organization will be doing in 2022, “As CSO, we are going to break down the gains of the electoral act to Nigerians when it is signed; we will engage the country to set agenda for 2023 and commence a social contract initiative between the people and the candidates.
“We will engage INEC to ensure uniformity of rules for elections and demand nationwide testing of technology for 2023; also, we shall strongly advocate defending the credibility of the electoral process.
“We shall embark on the cost of your vote campaign to discourage vote trading, while in the same vein, we shall motivate the people to defend their votes.”