CSOs declare Feb 22 as ‘national day of protest’ to demand Buhari’s assent to electoral bill

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Twenty-six civil society organisations (CSOs) have declared February 22 as a “national day of protest” to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the electoral act amendment bill into law.

It was reported how the president earlier declined assent to the bill, citing concerns over the recommendation of direct primaries for political parties.

The president had said compulsory direct primary for political parties “violates the spirit of democracy”.

In a statement issued yesterday, the CSOs said Buhari needs to sign the bill before February 22 if the date for the 2023 general election announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will stand.

“On the 31st January, 2022, the National Assembly transmitted the Electoral Bill 2022 to the President for assent after expeditiously reworking the bill to meet the President’s expectations,” the statement reads.

“The bill allows electronic transmission of results, strengthens INEC’s financial independence and empowers the commission to reject falsified election results.

“The bill, when signed, requires INEC to issue Notice of Election not later than 360 days before the day appointed for an election. Therefore, the President has to give assent to the bill on or before 22nd February 2022 if the dates announced for the 2023 elections are to be maintained.

“The delay in granting presidential assent to the Electoral Bill, 2022 will create legal uncertainties that threaten the integrity of the off-cycle elections in Ekiti, Osun, and the 2023 general election, which is 366 days away.

“The civil society community resolves to declare Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, as the National Day of Protest to demand immediate assent to the bill.

“Civil society networks will organise peaceful public direct-action activities to further the demand to assent the bill. We urge citizens across the nation to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to act on this matter of urgent national importance.”

The signatories to the statement are listed as follows:

  1. Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room
  2. Yiaga Africa
  3. Partners for Electoral Reform (PER)
  4. International Press Centre
  5. Institute for Media and Society
  6. Nigerian Women Trust Fund
  7. The Albino Foundation
  8. Centre for Citizens with Disability
  9. Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ)
  10. Labour Civil Society Coalition (LASCO)
  11. Transition Monitoring Group
  12. CLEEN Foundation
  13. Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
  14. Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC)
  15. Nigeria Network of Non-Governmental Organisations (NNNGO)
  16. Inclusive Friends Association (IFA)
  17. Enough is Enough
  18. The Electoral Hub
  19. Centre for Liberty
  20. Take Back Nigeria Movement
  21. International Peace and Civic Responsibility Centre (IPCRC)
  22. 100 Women Lobby Group
  23. Women in Politics Forum
  24. Raising New Voices
  25. Millennials Active Citizenship Advocacy Africa
  26. Ready To Lead Africa