For Immediate Release
4 July 2021
#SaveOurElections #NoToMannualTransmissionOfResults #SaveNGElectoralIntegrity
As everyone may be aware, the National Assembly will pass the Electoral Amendment Bill (2021) this week. Barring any last-minute changes, the Bill is expected to be passed by both chambers on Thursday.
Some proposals canvassed by citizens were adopted in the Bill e.g., electronic voting, financial independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and new timelines for submission of list of candidates. However, there are discrepancies between the approved version of the Bill and the alleged final copy, where some key provisions have been manipulated.
In the alleged final copy, some key priority amendments were rejected by the leadership of the National Assembly, e.g. electronic transmission of results has been prohibited (S.50(2)) and the limits on campaign expenses have been increased (S.88). We are also concerned that the National Assembly has rejected the proposal empowering INEC to review the declaration of scores and return of candidates made by a Returning Officer, and determine that the declaration was made under duress or contrary to the provisions of the law (S.65). Following, the events of the 2019 general elections, we are convinced that INEC needs to have this power in order to prevent politicians from going through the backdoor to win election and steal electoral mandate at gun point!
It is instructive to note that following the submission of the Electoral Amendment Committee’s report, the National Assembly leadership undertook an additional review of the report to insert and reject some amendments unilaterally, without going through the established process for such insertion.
We are concerned that the alleged final copy of the Electoral Amendment Bill, which we have reviewed, does not represent the interests of the Nigerian people and we therefore consider it a forged document that must not be substituted for our legitimate demands. Five examples of discrepancies noted are summarised below.
|Issue||Approved Text||Forged Text|
|Release of INEC funds – Section 3(3)||To be released in yearly instalments starting two years before election and ending not later than 180 days to the election||To be released not later than one year before election (no provision for
|Electronic Transmission of Results – Section 50(2)||Procedure for voting and transmission of results to be determined by INEC||Procedure for voting and results transmission to be determined by INEC, provided that transmission of results shall not be electronic|
|Declaration of Scores Under Duress – Section 65||Decision of a Returning Officer on declaration of scores and return of candidate shall be final, provided that INEC can within 7 days review the declaration and determine that is was not made under duress or contrary to the provisions of the law||Decision of a Returning Officer on declaration of scores and return of candidate shall be final (no power of INEC to review)|
|Judicial Review of INEC Decision – Section 76||INEC’s decision not to register a party can be challenged in court, provided that legal action is commenced
within 14 days from the date of receipt of the decision
|INEC’s decision not to register a party can be challenged in court, provided that legal action is commenced
within 45 days from the date of receipt of the decision
|Campaign Financing – Section 88||Limits on campaign expenses: President N1B; Governor N200M, Senate N40M, House of Reps N30M, State House of Assembly N10M||Limits on campaign expenses increased as follows: President N15B; Governor N5B, Senate N1.5B, House of Reps N500M, State House of Assembly N50M|
In particular, the manipulation of Section 50(2) undermines INEC’s effort to improve the election results management regime, considering that we recently witnessed the successful introduction of the Election Results Viewing Portal in some of the off-cycle elections, which improved the integrity of the process greatly. In addition, the dramatic increase in spending limits, should be of great concern to all Nigerians. It is an indication that the National Assembly is committed to entrenching a political system that is heavily monetised.
We are worried about the grave implications these underhanded manipulations and illegal actions will have on our Electoral Process. We call on Senate President Ahmed Lawan and Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, to speak up clearly that they are not aware of these amendments and are not part of any attempt to subvert the voices of Nigerians.
We also urge Nigerians to stand up to resist this latest attempt by the National Assembly to manipulate the Electoral Act for self-perpetuation and self-interest. We must ensure this bill is not passed on Tuesday, July 6, 2021.
We will continue to make the contact information of National Assembly members available so that Nigerians can engage their representatives directly.
- Center for Liberty
- The Electoral Hub
- Yiaga Africa
- Ayisha Osori
- Princess Hamman-Obels
- Raising New Voices
- Ready To Lead Africa
- Speak Out Africa Initiative
- Centre for Development Alternatives Research and Studies
- Aspilos Foundation
- Free Nigeria Coalition
- Adopt A Goal for Development Initiative
- Concerned Nigerians
- SING Nigeria
- Enough is Enough
- Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC)
- Community Life Project (CLP)
- FAME Foundation
- Women in Politics Forum (WIPF)
- UTO Foundation
- Ebere Ifendu
- Vision Spring Initiatives
- South-South Professional Women Association (SSPWA)
- Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome
- Media Concern Initiative (MediaCon) for Women and Children
- Nigeria Women Trust Fund
- Women Foundation of Nigeria
- Baobab for Women’s Human Rights
- Iyom Josphine Anenih
- Equality Through Education Foundation (ETEF)
- Daria Media Foundation
- Learning Through Skills Acquisition Initiative (LETSAI)
- Open Arms Initiative for Sustainable Development
- Education as Vaccine
- Young Women in Politics Forum
- Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights
- Clem Aguiyi, President Move on Nigeria and Co-Founder: Powered by the People
- Paul Ogwu. Acting Executive Director, Institutional and Sustainable Development Foundation.
- Initiative for Research, Innovation and Advocacy in Development (IRIAD)