Professor Attahiru Jega, a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has urged the National Assembly (NASS) and President Muhammadu Buhari to approve the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021.
According to him, the passage of the bill will go a long way in improving the integrity of Nigeria’s elections. He also asked the Federal Government to do everything possible to ensure that Nigeria goes into the next election with a new bill.
“This country will be better off if we go into the next election with a new electoral law which will enhance the integrity of the preparations and conduct of the elections,” he said during a Townhallwith Channels TV on the Electoral bill on Sunday.
Professor Jega noted that the bill contains a lot of new amendments that are crucial to the integrity of the electoral process and he believes that should be the primary focus.
Recommendations and Amendments
36 recommendations had been made for the bill by INEC to the National Assembly; 31 of which were approved with little to no amendments.
The amendments according to Jega, are the first in the last 12 years, and withholding assent to the bill, over a clause, would, therefore, be detrimental to INEC’s ability to adequately prepare for coming elections.
“A good legal framework helps to create elections with integrity and electoral integrity helps to enhance democratic consolidation and the preparation and conduct of elections democratically.
“Since 2010, we have not had substantive improvements in the electoral legal framework until now and clearly, the bill contains quite a lot of substantive improvements, so we must do everything possible to ensure that we go into the next election with a new bill.
“We already have some fundamental elements that can improve the integrity of the elections, let this be passed immediately, drop this issue of direct primaries, think more seriously about it. It is good, it should be done but if we proceed to do it the way we are trying to do it now, we are likely to create more problems than it will solve,” he said.