The Director of Programmes, YIAGA Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu in a statement on Tuesday titled ‘Make Constitutional Review and Electoral Reforms Top Legislative Priority Upon Resumption’ called on the 9th Assembly to hasten the review of the 1999 constitution (as amended) and harmonise the electoral act as soon as possible.
The statement reads in part, “On the commencement of the third legislative year of the 9th Assembly, Yiaga Africa believes that the Assembly is better poised for high impact legislation.
“This legislative year is very crucial towards leaving a lasting legacy that Nigerians will remember the 9th Assembly for.
“Time indeed is of the essence as citizens look forward to the conclusion of work on key legislation which includes the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the amendment to the 1999 Constitution as well as legislative actions that will address nagging security challenges and revamp the economy.”
Mbamalu said that the National Assembly resumes at a time when the Nation is beset with a host of challenges requiring legislative actions towards mitigating them.
She said that Yiaga acknowledges and commends the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill amongst other legislative actions taken before the recess.
“We also implore that the harmonisation of this bill reflects only collective resolutions that are geared towards improving the conduct of elections in Nigeria, particularly as it relates to election administration, technology deployment for elections, inclusion and campaign finance regulations.”
The CSO expressed that only an Electoral Act that is all-encompassing can address some of the challenges in the electoral process and build citizens’ confidence in Nigeria’s democracy.
It added that Nigeria risks losing any meaningful mileage in its quest for national unity and democratic consolidation if a new electoral framework is not concluded and tested before the general elections.
It said, “Given the prevailing realities in Nigeria today, Yiaga Africa urges the National Assembly to immediately conclude the process of amending the Constitution.”
While the group also assured the government of its commitment to support the work of the National Assembly in carrying out its legislative mandate to the benefit of all Nigerians; it calls on other civil society organisations and Nigerians to demand a new Electoral Act and consistently strive to protect democracy for the nation’s good.