Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), on Thursday, endorsed the bill seeking to provide for independent candidacy in presidential, governorship, national and state assemblies as well as local government elections.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said now that the bill has been transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent, the President should speed up processes and sign the bill to law before he leaves office on May 29, 2023.
The group said the bill if it becomes a law will be a big game-changer in Nigeria’s electoral processes as citizens will be able to vote the candidates they believe in without necessarily being constrained to belonging to one party or the other.
HURIWA also believed that the bill if assented to law will curb the over-bloated importance given to dominant political parties like the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party as well as their corrupt leaders who turn the whole thing into an enterprise collecting hundreds of millions from candidates to pick up nomination forms.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “This bill is all that is needed to change Nigeria’s electoral system for good and President Muhammadu Buhari will do well to give Nigerians a deserving parting gift by immediately signing it into law as it will curb electoral malfeasance of all kinds, of course championed by greedy politicians running the affairs of political parties and financially barring eligible and competent persons without millions of naira to contest for elective offices.
“It is only reasonable that the President immediately assent to the bill before he leaves on May 29, 2023. At least Nigerians can have something positive that he contributed to the electoral system aside the terribly flawed Electoral Act.”
The National Assembly this week resolved to send the constitution alteration bill number 58 after the Senate approved recommendations of a report.
The report was presented on Tuesday by Ovie Omo-Agege, Deputy President of the Senate and Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee On Constitution Amendment.
While presenting his report, Omo-Agege said Gombe house of assembly has approved the constitution alteration bill – making it the 24th state to approve the legislation.
The bill proposes that for any citizen to contest the presidential election as an independent candidate, they must obtain the verified signatures of at least 20 percent of registered voters from each of the 36 states.
To participate in a governorship election, the independent candidate must obtain the verified signatures of at least 20 percent of registered voters from each of the LGAs of the state.
May 18, 2023
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko
National Coordinator – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA.