Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre ( CISLAC), Mr Auwal Rafsanjani , has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the electoral amended bill into law.
Rafsanjani, who also doubles as Chairman Transition Monitoring Group, made the commendation in a statement on Friday.
He thanked the National Assembly, the Media, Civil Society Organisations(CSOs) and Nigerians for the collective success of the new amended electoral Act.
He said that under democracy people could not be suppressed by the few interests groups, noting that CSO groups would continue to demand electoral transparency for enthronement of good governance in Nigeria.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has fulfilled his obligation by upholding the values of democracy and assenting the electoral bill.
“It would be recalled that CSOs, in Abuja, recently demanded Mr President’s assent to the electoral bill, during a protest.
“The protest, which CISLAC was part of, became necessary owing to the fact that the president Buhari-led administration declined assent to the bill twice,“ he said.
Rafsanjani said that the electoral act would guarantee INEC’s financial independence, “which in turn would ensure the electoral umpire gets early funding on time to prepare for election.
“Initially, we reduced the conversation of the bill to direct and indirect primaries, but it is a lot more.
“If you think about early funding for the election, this electoral act provides funding for election to the commission at least a year before the election.
“Why is that important, if you think about the conduct of elections, postponement of elections that we had in 2019, 2015, even 2011 they were attributed to issues around elections operations and logistics management.”
According to him, when INEC receives the funds early, it gives it better time to plan.
Rafsanjani also noted that the bill had provisions that addressed multiple voting and voting by proxy as well as tampering with election results at the results collation centres.
He said that it would also give INEC the exclusive rights and independence to review results announced under duress.
He noted that the beauty of the amended act was that there are sections that would prevent politicians from influencing or harassing polling officials from declaring fabricated results.
He appealed to CSOs and the media not to relent in fighting for social justice, saying “only then would we able to achieve the Nigeria of our dreams.”nan