The coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Nigeria on Monday urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to sign the Electoral Bill, 2021 into law, over various infractions embedded in the proposed bill.
A spokesperson for the 124 CSOs, Mrs Vivian Bellonwu of Social Action who expressed grave displeasure over the ‘Orchestrated plot to circumvent free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria, through the truncation of electronic votes transmission’, also called for the arrest and prosecution of the officials of Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) for misleading the House and indeed Nigerians during his presentation when invited by the leadership of the House of Representatives to provide necessary information on electronic transmission of election results in the forthcoming elections.
She said the president should only give assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 after the deletion of section 52(2) that requires transmission of election results by INEC to be subjected to the clearance of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Assembly.
“The deletion of section 65 will remove the powers of INEC to review results declared under duress or in contravention of electoral law and guidelines.
“The deletion of section 88 which has completely monitised the democratic process, as only moneybags can contest elections in Nigeria as campaign expenses for presidential election increased.
“For president it was increased from N1 billion to N15 billion, for governorship from N200 million to N5 billion, senate from N40 million to N1.5 billion and house of representation from N30 million to N500 million,’’ she said.
While frowning at the ongoing moves by the members of the National Assembly and other anti-democratic elements from shutting out women from participating in politics, the Coalition issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police to arrest the erring NCC officials and others involved in frustrating the proposed Electoral Reforms.
“Events in the legislative chambers of our dear country in the recent past, particularly in the regards of elections and electoral processes have put a dire burden on all men and women of goodwill in this country, as well as organizations to act and take steps to checkmate what could aptly be designated as the most potent and biggest threat to transparent and credible polls in Nigeria, today.
“The reason or reasons for this are clear; credible elections, not just elections, are at the heart of democracy and so does any threat to this portend not just great danger, but the risk to the sustenance of the said democracy. This threat cum risk patently extends to the stability, peace, and security of the country itself.
“The orchestrated plot against the electronic transmission of votes in Nigeria by anti-democratic elements who have no iota of love or interest of Nigeria or the common man at heart and being arrow-headed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is a case in point that aptly captures this threat-scenario,” she added