Electoral bill: Time to take action on electoral act amendment bill, says YIAGA Africa


December 20 makes it 31 days after the national assembly transmitted the electoral bill to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.

The president is yet to take a decision on the bill even as the 30-day deadline provided by the constitution elapsed on Sunday.

However, according to law, the national assembly can override Buhari by a two-third vote in a case where no action is taken by the president on the bill.

Speaking on Monday at the ‘Incredible Music Festival’ in Lagos, Cynthia Mbamalu, director of programmes at YIAGA, said the president is failing Nigerians by refusing to assent to the bill.

She urged the lawmakers to utilize their constitutional power by overriding the president if he continues to keep mum about his decision on the electoral bill.

“The president should realize he is failing Nigerians because this is the electoral amendment that a lot of Nigerians got interested in and we have been making demands for certain things,” she said.

“But there are two options. The president had the deadline yesterday. The national assembly has the power of veto and needs to exercise that power because they are the arm of government that has the power to actually checkmate the executive.

“We already know we have lawmakers who think that whatever the president says is final, but this is the time for us Nigerians to also put the pressure on them.

“If President Muhammadu Buhari knows what is good for him and his government and if he really wants to key into the idea of legacy as he leaves office, he needs to assent to the bill or the national assembly needs to show Nigerians that they are serious about this and pass the bill.”

Speaking about the influence of entertainment on politics, Mbamalu said Nigerian youths should use music and films to bridge the gap of political apathy in the country.

“Entertainment is powerful in Nigeria. It has taken us to the global map. The reason why people know a lot about Nigeria is about our music, movies and arts,” she said.

“We need to bridge that gap — that while entertainment is making us global, entertainment also needs to help us change political outcomes.

“We want to change the game in 2023 but we need to start early by leveraging music, art, culture and going out to meet people at the local level. It is beyond our numbers.”

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