Electoral Act: Gbajabiamila, PLAC Join Others in Commending Buhari

Akanimo Sampson

Akanimo Sampson

Commendations are still pouring in for President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill into law on Friday.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), have welcomed the signing into law of the Electoral Bill 2022, by President Muhammadu Buhari. The signing brings into effect, a new electoral legislation for the country, the Electoral Act 2022.

Gbajabiamila commends President Buhari for assenting to the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill passed by the National Assembly, pointing out that the president’s action was in line with the All Progressives Congress (APC) determination to bequeath a legacy of an improved democracy to Nigerians.

He also commends his colleagues in the National Assembly for standing firm to ensure that the country has a new electoral law that Nigerians would be proud of and for passing another landmark legislation.

Continuing, he notes that the new law is a collaborative effort by all stakeholders made up of Civil society organisations, Labour, the media, the Independent National Electoral Commission, etc and that this is what happens when all stakeholders work together in the best interest of the country.

He said with the signing into law of the new electoral law, the Nigerian electorate would witness an improvement in the country’s electoral process.

Gbajabiamila said Nigeria’s democracy stands to gain a lot from the new electoral law. He urged all stakeholders, especially the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that it commences the implementation of the new law in earnest so as to have better elections next year.

The new Act provides a legal framework that empowers the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to deploy technological solutions such as the Smart Card Reader (SCR) or other technological devices in its conduct of elections and results transmission.

It improves voting procedure for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and allows INEC to review declarations of election results made under duress. The new Act also improves the timelines for the conduct of elections and creates adequate time frames for fulfilling various requirements and activities defined in the Electoral Act.

For PLAC’s Executive Director, Clement Nwankwo, the effort to pass a new Electoral Act has been a tedious one, dating as far back as 2015, with minimal progress made over the years. Between this time and 2021, several Electoral Reform retreats and meetings were held to develop recommendations on improved elections in Nigeria.

‘’The amendment of this law followed from investments of time, energy, research work and resources by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working with multiple stakeholders such as Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), National Assembly Committees on INEC and Electoral Matters, the media and development partners.

‘’Today, PLAC is elated that all the efforts have paid off resulting to a new legal framework for Nigerian elections.

‘’The Electoral Act, 2022 repeals and replaces the Electoral Act 2010 giving room for major reforms that will aid the upcoming Ekiti and Osun Gubernatorial Elections slated for June and July 2022  as well as the 2023 General elections.

‘’It is expected that INEC will prepare for these elections in line with the improved provisions of the new law.

‘’PLAC is pleased to have worked with the National Assembly towards the realisation of the Electoral Act, 2022. PLAC restates its commitment to free, fair and credible elections as Nigerians prepare to head to the polls in the elections that will follow the beginning of the implementation of the new Electoral Act’’, Nwankwo said in a statement.

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