The Alliance of Civil Society Organisations for Expansion of Democratic and Electoral Space says it is planning a protest march to the National Assembly and 36 states in Nigeria on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.
This was disclosed over the weekend during a press conference that took place at Gallery of the Lagos Court of Arbitration, Maruwa, Lekki, Lagos State.
The press conference jointly addressed by the group Co-Spokespersons, Dare Ariyo-Atoye and Ayo Ademiluyi, stated that the protest tagged #OccupyNASS, is to push for the passage of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021 on Wednesday, 19th May 2021.
They said in Abuja, #OccupyNASS Marchers will assemble at the National Assembly Gate while in Lagos, they will assemble at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Ikeja by 9 am.
According to the Co-Spokesperson, there is no other time than now for the National Assembly to pass the Electoral Bill as the country is currently on a cliff edge based on the avalanche of terrorism, banditry, and kidnapping that can affect the future of Nigeria
They said, “While the dates for the 2023 general elections have been fixed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the polls will suffer the usual crisis that bedevils elections without a coherent and comprehensive legal framework that reassures all sundry.
“The Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill contains provisions such as e-voting that positively upgrade the current electoral system.
“A passage of the Electoral Bill will serve as a reassurance that the National Assembly is prepared to play her role in the entire process of salvaging the country
“They called on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to sign the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill”
“We recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had refused to sign the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill and remitted it back to the 8th National Assembly on several occasions before the 2019 general elections. The 9th National Assembly commenced the process afresh and promised to pass the Bill in the year 2020.
“December 2020 and the second deadline of 31st March 2021, set by the National Assembly, failed and refused to deliver on their promises to pass the Bill. But we have it on good authority that the bill is ready for a final reading and passage, as the joint committee of the National Assembly working on it has concluded the process.
“At this juncture, we cannot explain why the leadership of the National Assembly is delaying the legislative process for presenting the bill to the plenary. We fear that this could be a ploy to continue with the unenviable past and undermine our collective call for electoral reforms.
In conclusion, we call on our friends in the media to support us in terms of extensive media coverage as we embark on this all-important struggle for electoral freedom,”