Posted by News Express | 18 November 2021 | 1,150 times
The National Consultative Front (NCFront) has called on the visiting United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign into law promptly, the Electoral Amendment Bill as recently passed by the National Assembly.
The NCFront made the request to the top US government official who is on a two-day visit to the country beginning Wednesday.
The request is contained in a press statement issued Wednesday night signed by the mass political movement’s Head, Media & Public Affairs Bureau, Dr Tanko Yunusa, and made available to News Express.
According to the statement, the eventual giving of assent to this Bill by the president will be of great impact and turn around to the electoral and political space in Nigeria as such would restore the lost confidence of the Nigerian electorate as well as the international community in the Nigerian electoral system.
“It is in light of this that we have chosen to call the attention of Secretary Blinken to the most critical subject matter in growing and building Nigeria’s democracy, which is about the Bill to amend the Electoral Act (2010) after so much conversation and pressure was finally harmonized and passed by both chambers of the National Assembly and sent to the President for assent,” said the statement.
Tracing the tortuous journey by the Bill in the Legislature and expressing fears of the possibility of dumping the Bill by the president against the wishes of the masses, NCFront narrated:
“For over several months now, there has been intense advocacy and campaigns around the passage of the Bill to amend the Electoral Act (2010), the purport of which is to put in place an ideal electoral process which will be devoid of rigging, large-scale violence and all sorts of irregularities that have always trailed and bedeviled elections in Nigeria since return to civil rule in 1999.
“The process of the passage of the Bill to amend the electoral Act has not been without bottlenecks, as some of the important aspects of the Bill were mischievously removed at the committee stage of the legislative process, but for the strong advocacy by Nigerians demanding that the senators and members of the House of Representatives listen to the yearnings of the people they would not have been restored. Some of the previously expunged provisions include the part of the Bill that seeks to introduce electronic transmission of results and electronic voting.
“Following, overwhelming pressure and demand from the civic space and concerned citizens, the National Assembly had no choice other than to yield to the yearnings of the people by restoring those expunged provisions back to the Bill.
“The Electoral amendment Bill having successfully scaled through the requisite legislative procedure including the harmonisation stage is now to be forwarded to the Executive President for assent.
“However, the National Assembly in its wisdom also opted for direct primaries for political parties in chosing their candidates for general elections, which has drawn bad blood between the state governors and the people’s representatives and the Governors now scheming to frustrate signing the electoral act into law by the President
“As the Bill now awaits the assent of President Muhammadu Buhari, there are doubts and skepticism as to whether the Bill will scale through the final stage because of the position of the governors on the nomination process of the political parties candidates for reasons best known to the governors in Nigeria.
“It is upon this reality that we use this medium to appeal to the visiting US Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken to leverage on the existing cordial relationship between United State of America and the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as the US open support for strengthening democracy worldwide and in nudging President Muhammadu Buhari to speedily assent to the electoral amendment Bill as passed by the National Assembly irrespective of the dust being raised by the governors, so that President Buhari doesn't again through away the baby with the bath water this time around.
“This we are advocating, realising that the United States has over the years and consistently shown considerable interest in the overall development of democracy and governance in Nigeria and this ought not to be an exception.”
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