By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Don’t Allow Fraud Mar 2023 Polls, Pass Amended Electoral Bill, Atiku For NIgeria Tells NASS
A group, Atiku For NIgeria (AFN) has tasked the National Assembly to expedite action on the amended Electoral Bill 2018 ahead of the 2023 election, warning that without doing so, ugly incidents of electoral fraud may mar its outcome.
The group expressed this in a statement signed by its Director General, Chief Hon. (Barr). Sunday Umeha, made available on Sunday May 2, 2021.
“Consequently, the AFN joins the community of well-meaning Nigerians and civil society organisations in the call for immediate conclusion of legislative work on the pending Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, so as to get it ready for presidential assent before the second half of the year,” it said.
According to the Statement titled, “PREPARING FOR 2023 ELECTION WITHOUT AMENDING THE ELECTORAL ACT IS A RECIPE FOR DISASTER” the group said its call was predicated on the report credited to the drawn to reports credited to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, where he hinted on conduct of the 2023 election.
“The attention of ATIKU FOR NIGERIA has been drawn to reports credited to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to the effect that the 2023 general election has been slated to hold in the second week of February, 2023.
“While the AFN commends the Electoral Commission for being alive to its constitutional mandate of conducting elections, we are constrained to observe that any attempt at preparing for the 2023 general election without passing the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018, currently pending at the National Assembly, is akin to putting the cart before the horse,” it said.
The statement stressed that the call for the conclusion of amendment of the Electoral Bill, was important owing to past experiences.
“Memories of the ugly outcome of the 2019 general election, and recently held off-season elections in Kogi, Edo and Ondo States, are still with us. Thus we cannot afford to go into fresh round of elections with the extant legal framework which has proved to be a recipe for rigging and sundry electoral malfeasance. Doing so will amount to doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result, as a wise man once counseled,” it added.
Atiku For NIgeria also called on INEC to immediately roll out dates for the commencement of Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), so that Nigerians who have since become eligible to vote after the 2019 general election, can register in good time, before the forthcoming elections.
“Registration of eligible voters is an important component of electioneering, and we call on INEC to show more seriousness in this regard, particularly in the context of low-voter turn-outs witnessed in recent elections.
“As we gradually inch towards 2023, the AFN notes that so much is at stake. However, a free, fair and credible election, will no doubt help to midwife a peaceful socio-political atmosphere upon which the stability of our Nation depends. The consensus of opinion so far, is that so much of that, rests on an effective and efficient electoral legal framework which can be achieved within the context of the pending Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
“Postponing its passage, puts our democracy in great jeopardy,” the group warned.