Members of CCSO-JE during a world press conference
By Salisu Sani-Idris
A Coalition of Civil Society Organisations for Justice and Equity (CCSO-JE), on Tuesday, said that the misconceptions arising from President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to sign the amended electoral act was unnecessary.
Chief Convener of the group, Mr Olayemi Success, stated this in Abuja at a news conference.
It will be recalled that President Buhari declined assent to the bill recently passed by the National Assembly citing among other reasons, the confusion that could arise as to what extant legislation would guide the 2019 general elections.
Success said that signing the bill less than 70 days away from the 2019 elections, would run fowl of Article 2 of the 2001 ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy.
He said that Nigeria could not afford to be seen as the first country to breach ECOWAS Protocol, especially on sensitive issues like electoral laws.
‘‘As advocates of democracy, we take side with the action of President Buhari as it is in the best interest of the nation at this particular time.
‘‘We strongly believe that the misconceptions that have arisen in some quarters about the mini-skirt nature of Mr President’s letter to the National Assembly is unnecessary,’’ Success said.
He advised all critical stakeholders in the electoral process to understand and appreciate the decision of President Buhari to decline assent to the electoral (amendment bill), 2018.
‘‘As a matter of fact, the 2015 General Elections were adjudged globally as the fairest, freest and most credible ever in the history of Nigeria.
‘‘Those elections were conducted under our existing electoral laws and we see no reason for a sudden change of status quo,’’ he said.
Success expressed the conviction that the Independent National Electoral Commission had made substantial preparations towards the conduct of 2019 elections.
He contended that to bring into effect the electoral (amendment) bill, before the 2019 elections could lead to another round of planning, budgeting and starting at fresh the whole electoral process.
He opined that Nigerians would not be ready to entertain any postponement of the 2019 elections in the name of eleventh hour amendment of the electoral laws.