President Muhamadu Buhari, according to the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), squandered a golden chance when he refused to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021.
The CDD expressed amazement at the president’s decision in a statement issued by its director, Idayat Hassan, who said: “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”.
With the next general election only fourteen months away, the CDD has called on the National Assembly to either override the President’s veto and pass the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 as an act of the National Assembly, or remove the provisions on direct primaries raised by the President and 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,” the group stressed.
According to the CDD, “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 CDD urged Nigeria’s National Assembly to act quickly to defend the country’s elections and democracy.