Foremost human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the new electoral act amendment bill into law.
He said the bill should be “urgently” signed now to avoid late alteration to arrangements for the 2019 elections, in accordance with the ECOWAS protocol on democracy and good governance act.
Falana said the new bill should be promptly signed into law in view of the fact that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that the 2019 elections will commence in February 2019.
He said, “In making this call the attention of the president ought to be drawn to article 2 (1) of the Economic Community of West African States Protocol A/SP1/12/01 on Democracy and Good Governance which provides that: ‘No substantial modification shall be made to the electoral laws in the last six (6) months before the elections, except with the consent of majority of political actors’.”
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He cited an example with the case of Congress of Democracy and Progress v Republic of Burkina Faso where the Ecowas Court ruled that “all the member states of the ECOWAS are bound by the provisions of the protocol on democracy and good governance”.
“Since the modification made to the 2010 Electoral Act is substantial, the bill cannot be passed in less than six months to the 2019 general election,” Falana added.
“Since Nigeria is legally obliged to comply with the said Protocol, President Buhari who is the current chairman of the ECOWAS should ensure that the Electoral Bill 2018 is assented to without any further delay.”
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