Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, under the auspices of Civil Society Partners on Electoral Reforms, Monday, called on the National Assembly to halt the passage of the 2022 Budget until the Electoral Act Amendment Bill is passed into law before Christmas.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Executive Director, Adopt A Goal for Development Initiative, Ariyo-Dare Atoye; Speak Out Africa Initiative, Eze; Raising New Voices, Jude Feranmi; and Executive Director, Youth and Students Advocates for Development Initiative, Obinna Eze Nwagbara.
The statement reads in part: “Rise up to the occasion as the representatives of the people, exhibit courage, recall the bill immediately and give it an accelerated passage before Christmas.
“We are asking the National Assembly to step down the consideration of the 2022 Appropriation Act until the electoral bill has been sorted and passed.
“What will be the excuse for transmitting a bill that you cannot override when you have the number and the opportunity?
“You have everything to lose having come this far, but President Buhari has nothing to lose.”
However, the CSOs warned that if members of NASS fail to override the President in the interest of over 200 million Nigerians and for a credible electoral process ahead of 2023 history will harshly judge them for having passed the bill unanimously before it was transmitted to the executive.
“We are aware that some Governors tried to stop the National Assembly from transmitting the bill but you rejected their overtures; we are aware that the President convened a tripartite meeting of the APC led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and you insisted on the bill.
“Why is the leadership of the National Assembly led by Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila, afraid of overriding the President, despite having deferred to him all these years with nothing to show for it and this last-minute betrayal?
“Today, the 9th National Assembly has the ultimate backing of Nigerians to act and override the President and secure the future of our democracy with the passage of the amended electoral bill.
“President Buhari has missed a low hanging lifetime opportunity to salvage his terrible democratic credential; unfortunately, he chose to side with a section of the ruling class to the detriment of the people.
“The President now qualifies as the biggest threat to the democratic journey of the fourth democratic republic, having failed to perform a similar responsibility a record four-time in his first term.
“This National Assembly must take courage in the fact that this will not be the first time in the last 20 years that the legislature will override the President; the 4th legislative session did so and got the NDDC Act passed and operational.
“Indeed, this is an opportunity for the 9th National Assembly to redeem their image, prove everyone wrong, and show that they can act in the overall interest of the people”, it concluded.