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Electoral Bill: 26 CSOs to begin nationwide protest on Tuesday

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A coalition of civil society organisations has declared Tuesday, February 22 2022 as a national day of protest to demand immediate assent to the reworked Electoral Amendment Bill by the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

The CSOs said they would organize peaceful public direct-action activities to further the demand to assent to the Bill. The coalition urged its partners to converge at the Unity Fountain, Abuja.

The coalition included Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Yiaga Africa, Partners for Electoral Reform, International Press Centre, Institute for Media and Society, Nigerian Women Trust Fund, The Albino Foundation, Centre for Citizens with Disability, Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, Labour Civil Society Coalition, Transition Monitoring Group, CLEEN Foundation and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre.

Others were Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, Nigeria Network of Non-Governmental Organisations, Inclusive Friends Association, Enough is Enough, The Electoral Hub, Centre for Liberty, Take Back Nigeria Movement, International Peace and Civic Responsibility Centre, 100 Women Lobby Group, Women in Politics Forum, Raising New Voices, Millennials Active Citizenship Advocacy Africa and Ready To Lead Africa.

On January 31 2022, the National Assembly transmitted the Electoral Bill 2022 to the President for assent after reworking the Bill.

The CSOs in a statement issued on Saturday by the Media Officer of Yiaga Africa, Moshood Isah, after an emergency meeting urged citizens across the nation to “call on President Muhammadu Buhari to act on this matter of urgent national importance.”

The coalition said the Bill allows electronic transmission of results, strengthens the financial independence of INEC and empower the commission to reject falsified election results.

“Further aware, 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 February 22 2022 if the dates announced for the 2023 elections are to be maintained.

“Concerned that 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, February 22 2022, as the national day of protest to demand immediate assent to the Bill. Civil society networks will organize 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 statement said.

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