From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
To end the incessant political violence during elections across the nation, a group, Centre for Liberty has called on the members of the National Assembly to ensure the speedy passage of the 2020 Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
The group made the call at the weekend in Port Harcourt Rivers state.
The groups in partnership with Society for Promotion of Better Rivers state, gave the NASS until the end of 2020 to ensure that all issue concerning the bill is settled.
The groups believe that Nigerians will be happy with the final Electoral Act 2020.
Briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt, leaders of groups, Atoye Ariyo-Dare and Obinna Ebogidi respectively, said the need to fastrack the repeal and re-enact the Act was to end the current violence and irregularities in the country’s electoral process.
They reiterated the concerns in different quarters that the bureaucratic bottlenecks and loopholes in the current act is dangerous to national unity and credibility of elections in the country.
Insisting that the reform is long overdo, the group noted that ordinarily, the practicality of the new act supposed to have best be test-ran in the soon to be held Governorship elections in Edo and Ogun states, but noted that since it would not be possible this time, they should ensure it was ready before the end of 2020, so it can be put into effect during Anambra state Governorship election in 2021.
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, alter the 2020 passage of the electoral act.
“Passing the new electoral Act 2020, by December this year is 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.
They called on the national Lawmakers to demonstrate the political will to end political/ electoral violence and wide spread irregularities and unending litigations before, during and after elections which has become a norm in the country’s electoral process.
“It is important to state that the passage of this bill will be a heavy lifting of burden on the judiciary, which has been calling for electoral reforms and amendments to some laws governing our elections, and so that we can end or reduce to its barest minimum, the avalanche of pee and post elections litigations.”