Following the delay by President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, some Civil Society groups have declared February 22, 2022, National Day of Protest.
The group stated this in a statement, Saturday. They also gave the president Tuesday as an ultimatum to sign the Bill.
The group further lamented that the delay by the President to assent to the Bill will create legal uncertainties which will threaten the integrity of elections in Ekiti, Osun, and the 2023 general election.The CSOs started further that President Buhari had in the last five years refused to assent to the bill on five occasions. This act, therefore, will lead to nationwide protest.
The statement reads in part, “Aware that 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.
“Also, aware the bill allows electronic transmission of results, strengthens INEC’s financial independence 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 22nd February 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, 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 to the bill. We urge citizens across the nation to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to act on this matter of urgent national importance.
”The 26 CSOs include Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room; Yiaga Africa; Partners for Electoral Reform (PER); 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 (PTCIJ); Labour Civil Society Coalition (LASCO); Transition Monitoring Group; CLEEN Foundation; Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC); Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC); Nigeria Network of Non-Governmental Organizations (NNNGO); Inclusive Friends Association (IFA); Enough is Enough; The Electoral Hub; Centre for Liberty; Take Back Nigeria Movement; International Peace and Civic Responsibility Centre (IPCRC); 100 Women Lobby Group; Women in Politics Forum; Raising New Voices; Millennials Active Citizenship Advocacy Africa; and Ready To Lead Africa.