A civil society group, the League of Women Voters of Nigeria (NILOWV) has urged the National Assembly to ensure it passes an Electoral Bill that conforms with global best practices and reflects the wish of the masses instead of tilting towards personal aggrandizement of its members.
The group which represents the interest of women voters across the country said it received with shock reports that some provisions of the Amended 2021 Electoral Bill which will be passed soon, have been altered.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, Dame Esther Uduehi, the President/ Founder of NILOWV, said sections 50(2), 65 and 68 of the Amendment Act which are critical to free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria have reportedly been tampered with.
She said the Sections would clearly define a pathway to the integrity of the electoral process in Nigeria.
She said, “NILOWV, therefore clearly, demand that transmission of election results by electronic means is not only sacrosanct but a sine qua non to credible elections. It will in clear terms ride our collation process of the manipulations, juggling of figures and the outride fraud that such has presented in the past.
“The deployment of the Z-PAD and the election result viewing portal by INEC in the 2020 Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States demonstrated the effectiveness of technology if put in good use. The results from those elections were adjudged by most stakeholders as true reflections of the will of the people.”
On alleged plans to tamper with section 65 of the Electoral Act, Dame Uduehi said NILOWV is equally concerned in the manner that the provisions in Section 65 stripes INEC of its powers to pertaining election results announcement while effectively, empowering Returning Officers to declare results even under duress on in collusion with fraudulent politicians to declare results that may not reflect the wishes of the people.
She said, “We support that INEC should determine results that should be declared, refuse declaration, suspend declaration or and cancel such results when found reasonable unattainable and not reflecting the wishes of the people.”
Reacting to alleged plans to increase campaign finance, she explained that the humongous amounts stipulated for campaign funds are not only outrageous but terribly unfriendly to women.
She said jacking up the figure stipulated for campaigns from president to other elective offices for as much as 1500 percent has already disenfranchised majority of women who have aspirations to political offices because they might not be able to meet the huge financial obligations.
According to her, “This provision encourages money politics and cash and carry politics. We are not in support of this provision and the National Assembly should make special provisions and waivers for women to encourage women’s participation generally in politics.”