The Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Frank Okiye, has described Electoral Reforms as “sacrosanct and nonnegotiable,” adding that the National Assembly is empowered to “clean up the old order’ to birth a new one.
While ruing the non-passage of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill before the next governorship election in Edo State, Okiye however expressed the confidence that the bill could still be passed this year.
He gave the assurance in his office, while receiving representatives of two nongovernmental organizations, Center For Liberty (CFL) and Smiles Africa International, that are jointly advocating for Electoral Reforms, among other core issues bordering on democratic governance and social change in Nigeria.
The groups had embarked on a peaceful march to the Edo State House of Assembly, Benin, demanding for a resolution that will urge the National Assembly in Abuja, to accelerate the passage of the Electoral Bill, currently before the 9th Senate.
According to a statement made available to newsmen by the coordinator of Smiles International, Purpose Iserhienrhien, the Speaker assured that ’as soon as we reconvene the house, we will take it as part of our duty to pass a resolution urging the National Assembly to fast track the passage of the Amendment.’
“The need to, reform our electoral processes, is sacrosanct, and we believe that passing the bill this year is doable by the 9th National Assembly.
“The fact that it has to be reformed, we need a new law, we need a clean-up of the old order and form it into a new reality and a new order, and this is not a negotiable fact.
“We support every genuine effort to reform our electoral laws, in the world over today, analysis has shown that democracy is still the best form of government.
“Therefore, the need to have an enduring electoral reform is a feat that must be achieved,” the Speaker Okiye added.
Earlier in his remarks, Smiles International Coordinator, Purpose Iserhienrhien, had entreated the leadership of the Edo State House of Assembly to pass a resolution urging the National Assembly to ensure the quick passage of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill this year, describing as the most sought after legislation.
“Most instructive is the fact that Electoral Reforms now represent a major Citizens Charter of Demand to the National Assembly for the year 2020.
“Ten years after Electoral Act 2010 was passed, Nigerians are eager to have Electoral Act 2020 (Repeal and Re-enactment), and we dare say that there is no better legacy on Electoral Reforms, than to give Nigerians a brand new Act this year.
Nigerians will be most delighted to have Electoral Act 2020; and so also will CFL and other partners implementing a people-driven Electoral Reform Advocacy (ERA) with the support of the Open Society Initiative for west Africa (OSIWA),” the statement added.