Electoral Bill: Override president Buhari In the Interest Of Democracy, Network Of Northern CSOs urges Senate President
The Conference of Northern States Civil Society Networks, a forum of states based civil society networks operating in the 19 Northern states of Nigeria, has called on Senate President Ahmad Lawal to heed the demands of Nigerian by mobilizing the National Assembly to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s denial of assent to the electoral amendment bill 2021.
In an open letter to the Senate President, signed by Ibrahim Waiya and Amb. Ibrahim Yusuf, chairman and secretary respectively and 19 state chairperson of respective coalition of CSOs, the civil society network told the lawmakers that overriding the president on the bill is a national duty not a party affair.
The civil society network said the call became imperative in the interest of participatory democracy and sanity in the Nigerian electoral process.
The letter read in part: “It has come to our notice that, President Muhammadu Buhari, has written to you conveying his decline to assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill, an action which apparently went against the yearnings and aspirations of the Nigerian citizens.
“We write to appeal to you to work closely with your colleagues and use the power of the senate to override the President and assent this important bill in the interest of participatory democracy and credible elections in Nigeria.
“Sir, it could be recalled that the national politics in recent time has been subjected to serious debates by different stakeholders, public analysts and individual citizens concerning the practice of our democracy and democratic consolidation in Nigeria.
“The long clamor by the major stakeholders such as: political parties, civil society organization and professional groups across the country, calling for electoral reforms have continued unabated and have climaxed into the desire for electoral amendment before the 2023 elections in Nigeria.
“Therefore, the National Assembly under your watch has done the needful by reintroducing the said bill in order to consolidate and deepen the nation’s democracy which has survived over the last two decades.
“The current democratic dispensation has been confronted with the challenges of internal democracy among the political parties and credible electoral process, which the bill seeks to address by introducing electronic transmission of results and direct primaries for all political parties. Therefore, the electoral amendment bill 2021 has the potentials to achieve the following objectives:
“Sanitize the electoral process via electronic transmission of result.
Electronic transmission of results, the problems of ballot box snatching, as well as alteration and rigging of election results can be addressed. Enhance popular participation by party members via direct primaries.
Eliminate money politics associated with the delegate system of voting in the indirect primaries. Reduce political apathy by party members in particular and the citizens in general.
Decimate the overbearing influences of Godfathers as party members will be stakeholders and partners in the conduct of all party activities. It will strengthen political parties and democracy in Nigeria
“Sir, considering the above objectives and significance of the bill, reversing it would be a great disservice to the country, hence the need for the Senate to override the President and assent the bill without further delay in the interest of the people the distinguished members are representing.
“Civil society groups want to remind the distinguished senate president and other distinguished senators that, overriding the president on the bill is a national duty not a party affair. So this is an opportunity to make history as Nigeria is still in a critical stage of her democratic experimentation.
“The nation is devoid of credible electoral process, voters’ apathy becomes the order of the day and political parties are turned into military establishments with a repressive structure. It therefore behooves on the leadership of the National Assembly to as a matter of public importance override the president and assent the electoral amendment bill 2021 owing to the fact that, the reasons given were not justifiable enough for president’s decline. This will strengthen our electoral process and further democratize our political parties by paving way for enhanced level ground where
party members decide who their candidates become.
“It is at this juncture, we wish to remind the leadership and the entire members of the National Assembly that they are the bastion of democracy, whose actions and words can project, preserve, and protect the nation’s democracy and save the citizens against all forms of dictatorship.
“Finally, we wish to appreciate the distinguished members for driving the process this far, and appeal to you to use this golden opportunity to write your names in the political book of the country, by assenting the bill, so that you can leave behind a legacy that you will be remembered for, in the history of Nigerian democracy.”
Amb. Peter M. Egwudah – Chairman, Network of Adamawa Non – Governmental Organizations (NANGO), Adamawa
State Jinjiri J. Garba – Executive Director/State Chairman, Bauchi State Network of Civil Society Organizations (BASNEC)
Mrs. Shimenenge Kyaagba, Coordinator, Benue Network of NGOs (BENGONET), Benue State
Others are; Comrade Bulama Abiso – Executive Director, Network of Civil Society Organizations Borno. Borno State, Amb. Ibrahim Yusuf – Chairman, Association of NGOs, Gombe State, Muhammad Musbahu Basrika – Chairman, Network of Civil Society organizations, Jigawa State
Ibrahim A. Waiya – President, Kano Civil Society Forum, Kano State
Emmanuel Bonet – Chairman, Concerned civil society, Kaduna State, Abdulrahman Abdullahi – Chairman, Coalition of Civil Society organizations, Katsina State
Hon. (Dr) Usman Buhari Ali – Chairman, Coalition of NGOs in Kebbi State State (CONKS)
Mr. Idris Ozovehe Muraina Chairperson, Kogi NGOs Network (KONGONET), Kogi State
The list includes; Ade Bodunde – Chairman, Kwara Forum of civil society organizations, Kwara State
Mr. Solomon Yakubu Enjola – Chairman, Nassarawa NGO Network (NANGONET), Nassarawa State, Habila Muhammad Kudu – Coordinator, NGOs Forum Niger State, Gad Peter – Rep. Coalition of NGOs Plateau State
Ibrahim Abdullahi Shuni – Chairman, Coalition of NGOs in Sokoto State, Joseph Gimba PhD – Chairman, Coalition for civil society organizations in Taraba State (COCS OTS), Alh. Baba Shehu, Executive Director/Chairman, Network of Yobe Civil Society Organizations, Ambassador, Ibrahim Tudu – Chairman, Zamfara Coalition of NGOs (ZASCONS), Zamfara State
Ibrahim A. Waiya
Amb. Ibrahim Yusuf