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The Organization for Community Civic Engagement (OCCEN) has told the National Assembly to excercise its veto power and pass the Electoral Reform Bill 2021 into law if President Muhammadu Buhari refuses to sign it.
They threatened court action if the assembly does not act on the matter.
The group also accused the President of playing the same tactics as 2019 in which he delayed in signing the Bill which compelled the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use the 2010 Electoral Act in the conduct of the election, despite its deficiencies.
The Executive Director of OCCEN, AbduRazak Alkali while speaking to journalist in Kano said, “the National Assembly has done a wonderful job and this is the first time that the legislature, the CSOs and the generalities of Nigerians are on the same page.
“Unfortunately, with two weeks left until deadlines, the President is yet to assent on the Bill and has been foot-dragging and unjustifiably delaying on the Bill, this should be worrying to every Nigerian because it appears the President is listening and giving priorities to some powerful and selfish categories of politicians”.
He continued, “sadly, this issue is taking a similar approach to how the President behaved pre 2019 elections which made INEC to use the 2010 Electoral Act despite all deficiencies in the Law”.
He advised the President to do away with the selfish interests of some Nigerian politicians and focus on what is in the best interests of Nigeria and its citizens.
The director of the civil society said it is very clear to all peace-loving Nigerians that the conduct of the party elections through direct primaries in Nigeria remains the most transparent mode of nominating candidates.
“While the current system of indirect primaries has handicapped women and youths from achieving their political leadership, the direct primaries would surely give them that chances and opportunities,” he said.
Alkali urged the President to demonstrate courage and good leadership to uphold democracy, “We understand that the President has written to the INEC seeking advice, we think this is yet another tactic by the Presidency to reject the Bill.
“The President should understand that history would never forgive him if he refuses to assent to the Bill, while favouring interests of the selfish few”.