Electoral Bill: Crisis looms ahead of 2023 polls – CSOs

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Seventy civil society organisations on Monday warned that the refusal of the National Assembly to include electronic transfer of election results as well as relevant amendments to the electoral laws to empower the Independent National Electoral Commission to determine the mode for elections could spell doom for the 2023 general elections.

The CSOs under the aegis of Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room gave the warning during a press conference held with implementing partners under the EU-Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria Programme, on the harmonisation of the Electoral Bill at the National Assembly, in Abuja, on Monday.

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The event was addressed by the Convener of NCSSR, Ene Obi; Founder of Albino Foundation, Jack Epelle; Director of Programmes in Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu; Senior Programme Officer, Centre for Democracy among others.

The coalition said, “If the Electoral Amendment Bill is not signed, it will signpost a catastrophe for the 2023 general elections.

“Notwithstanding the landmark proposals in the ongoing review process, civil society partners and key stakeholders have identified about 17 points of divergence in the versions of the Elections Act Amendment Bill passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives, amongst which are: the use of Smart Card Readers; deployment of electronic voting, collation and transmission of results; cost of campaigns and the process of nomination of candidates.

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“As civil society community and as expressed by a vast majority of electoral stakeholders and Nigerians, we are concerned by these identified differences in the proposals, particularly regarding electronic transmission of results and the deployment of technological devices in the conduct of elections.”

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By Comr Amos Kalu

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