CSO demands conduct of general elections in one day, full biometrics for accreditation

A civil society organisation, Center for Liberty (CFL), on Sunday, advocated for the conduct of “general elections in one day,” saying it would significantly curb the incidents of rigging, violence and will drastically reduce costs.

It is also asking the National Assembly to immediately amend the Electoral Act to accommodate “full biometrics for accreditation and electronic collation of results,” adding that there is no alternative to electoral reforms.

In a statement signed by its co-conveners, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, Deji Adeyanju and Raphael Adebayo, the group announced the commencement of a people-driven Electoral Reform Advocacy (ERA) sponsored by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) to ensure the immediate passage of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2018 by the 9th National Assembly.

Electoral reforms, according to CFL, must be prioritised by the 9th National Assembly as “a foremost legislative focus, before the next governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States,” while explaining that it is important for the reforms to be tested in the off-season elections.

The statement read: “We will, among other provisions in the Amendment Bill before the National Assembly, be advocating for full biometrics for accreditation, electronic collation of results, conduct of all state (governorship, House of Assembly) and federal elections (President, National Assembly) in one day, free movement of electorate to enable a wider voter participation, election finance reform, as well as other important provisions.

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“We believe that the 9th National Assembly has a responsibility to actively aggregate the general views of all stakeholders in Nigeria’s democratic process including the civil society organisations, political parties, international partners and especially the electorate, to legislate an enduring Electoral Reform Act that will reinforce the trust of the electorate and other stakeholders in the credibility of Nigeria’s electoral process.

“Elections in Nigeria, including the recent nationwide re-run elections, have repeatedly exposed the inherent loopholes and defects in our electoral process. This urgently requires electoral reforms which we believe must be prioritised as a foremost legislative focus, before the next governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States.

“We are saddened that after 20 years of uninterrupted democratic dispensation Nigeria is yet to learn the simple way to organise credible elections. This repeated failure to organise elections according to global standards has severely damaged Nigeria’s reputation among the comity of nations.

“Therefore, the 9th Senate and House of Representatives must as a matter of urgency, factor into its legislative deliberations an amended Electoral Act that will address the political consequences and socio-economic impact of sub-standard elections, prevent the endless anguish and trepidation foisted on electorate as a result of election violence, and also prevent the general threat of less than free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria’s democratic and electoral processes.”

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