A civic group, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has called on the National Assembly to use their veto power to sign the Electoral Bill 2021 into law, or immediately remove the provisions on direct primaries and immediately re-present the bill to the President for his assent.
The group said this in a press statement signed by its Director, Idayat Hassan, which was made available to newsmen on Wednesday.
It would be recalled that President Muhammad Buhari had on Monday cited the provisions of the direct primaries on political parties as a reason for declining his assent to the Electoral Act 2021 Amendment Bill.
Reacting to the President’s withdrawal of his signature, the CDD said it was shocked as Buhari missed a golden opportunity to register his name in history.
The statement was titled, “Election Bill 2021 Amendment: President Buhari missed a golden opportunity to write his name in gold”, read, “The National Assembly must redeem the situation to strengthen our democracy.
“The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) is shocked by President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to decline assent to the Electoral Bill 2021. Nigerians had all expected that President Buhari would write his name in gold as the President who bequeathed an improved electoral framework on the country.
“As the election is just 14 months away, the CDD is calling on the National Assembly to immediately toe two options; which is either veto the President and pass the Electoral Act 2021 bill into an act of the National Assembly or remove the provisions on direct primaries as raised by the President and immediately re-present the bill to the President for his assent.
“We must not allow a single provision truncate the goodness in the proposed electoral bill. Nigeria is in dire need of a new and robust framework for the conduct of elections.
“The reform in the Electoral Bill 2021 will improve the quality of elections thereby imbuing citizens’ trust in our democracy.
“The National Assembly as the true representative of the people must not allow the huge human and financial resources that went into the Electoral Bill 2021 – from drafting to readings at the floor, the public hearing, the committee works, the retreat, the conference committee et al to go to waste. The National Assembly must act, and the time is now. Save our Elections and our Democracy.”
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