Electoral Bill: CDD urges President Buhari’s assent

 The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) on Monday said proposals in the Electoral Bill 2021 would improve Nigeria’s elections and the political party’s candidate selection process.CDD Director, Idayat Hassan, in a statement in Abuja called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign into law the Electoral Bill 2021.

Hassan said that this was necessary to  represent the most significant legacy of Buhari’s presidency.“With the successful integration of technology into the electoral process, a legal backing for electronic voting and transmission of election results will further President Buhari’s commitment to improving Nigeria’s election.

“This will surely be President Buhari’s legacy for Nigerian people.

“CDD believes that the next critical step that must be taken is for the assenting into law, the Electoral Bill 2021.

“This is particularly as we head to two off-cycle elections in Ekiti and Osun States in 2022 and the 2023 general election,” she said.

Hassan noted that the  Senate had, on Oct. 13, re-amended certain aspects of the Electoral (Amendment) Bill contained in Clauses 43, 52, 63, and 87, respectively.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the re-amendment to the clauses followed a motion for recommittal moved by Sen. Yahaya Abdullahi.

In all, 21 clauses were harmonised, including the contentious clause 52; which makes provision for Electronic Transmission of Election Result.“Interestingly, the legislative document represents another beautiful outcome from the collaborative efforts of the Senate and House of Representatives,” she said.

Hassan noted that this was thoroughly and meticulously implemented assigned by the National Assembly committees on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Electoral Matters.

She said that the new Electoral Bill contained provisions that sought to improve the electoral system, including the process of voting, collation, and announcement of results, and most importantly help address the lack of public confidence in the process.

Hassan said that in addition, the direct primary method for candidate selection proposed in the Bill would improve internal party democracy by strengthening party membership.

She said that the poor internal processes were largely responsible for the weakness of political parties and have an adverse effect on the country’s governance system.

According to her, with the direct primary election, every registered member of the party will directly determine their candidate.She said that this CDD believed would reduce the floodgates of litigation that usually trailed the idea of consensus or imposition of candidates by political godfathers and party owners.She said that the bill when signed into law would effectively return the electoral power to the original custodian, the people, in accordance with the dictate of democracy.

Hassan said that  CDD noted that, unlike before, citizens would now be positioned as the decider of who would represent their political party and interest in the election instead of the status quo.She said that as a keen watcher of the Nigerian political space, CDD followed the entire process from the beginning to this point.

This, she said, was from the submission of memoranda to technical review, retreats, and extensive deliberations of all stakeholders, including contributions from critical stakeholders like the INEC, the political parties, civil society organisations, and youth groups. (NAN)