A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) stormed the National Assembly on Tuesday, seeking the inclusion of electronic voting in the Electoral Act.
It also called for a more responsive electoral act that would ensure the inclusion of vulnerable groups especially Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWDs) and those with special needs.
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The coalition presented demands to the National Assembly and reminded the parliament of its promise to pass the amended electoral act in the first quarter of 2021.
“In December 2020, the National Assembly held a public hearing on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill which provided an opportunity for citizens and stakeholders to participate and make their input to the electoral reform process.
“The urgent need for reforming the electoral legal framework is founded on the broad-based consensus by Nigerian citizens’ and electoral stakeholders on the need for a more credible and improved electoral process.
“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. This process is required before the bill can be transmitted to the president for assent.
“The seeming lack of progress in the National Assembly on the Electoral Act Amendment bill is therefore worrisome,” it said.
“The continued delay in concluding the process is reminiscent of the failed process in 2018 and attendant impact on the 2019 general elections,” it added.
The coalition, therefore, called on the National Assembly to ensure the independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), promote the inclusion of women, youth, and persons with disability in politics.
It also called for prioritising 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.
The CSOs that signed the statement were 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), and Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI).
Others were the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Nigeria Women’s Trust Fund (NWTF), 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 and One.