From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
The national Assembly has been urged to speed up the passage of the Electoral Act amendment bill to end the rising political violence during elections across the nation
Centre for Liberty, which made the call in partnership with Society for Promotion of Better Rivers state, gave the NASS until the end of 2020 to ensure that all issues concerning the bill are settled.
Briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt, leaders of groups, Atoye Ariyo-Dare and Obinna Ebogidi respectively, said the need to re-enact the Act has become necessary so as to end the current violence and irregularities in the country’s electoral process.
They expressed the concerns in different quarters that the bureaucratic bottlenecks and loopholes in the current act is dangerous to national unity as well as an impediment to the conduct of credibility of elections in the country
They said, “Without electoral reforms the off-season elections which are always the bellwether of the general elections will continue to be threatened and undermined by violent and rigging.
“Consequently, we want to make this urgent clarion call to the leadership of the National Assembly that the latest efforts at reviewing the 1999 constitution must not be allowed to scuttle or alter the passage of the Electoral Act as ammended.
“Passing the new electoral Act 2020, by December this year would be strategic to Nigeria’s democracy, as it will create a window for INEC to test run the new law during 2021 governorship election in Anambra state.
“There is no alternative to the document being signed and sealed by 2020, to end violence and irregularities at elections which unarguably pose serious threat to democracy and national unity of the country” they maintained,” the group noted, while calling on the national lawmakers to demonstrate the political will to end political/ electoral violence and wide spread irregularities through passage of the bill.