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2023 elections: New electoral law now awaits NASS, Presidency – INEC

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Monday said ultimately, the onus of having a new electoral framework ahead of the 2023 general elections resides with the National Assembly and the Presidency.

INEC’s Commissioner, Mr. Festus Okoye, said this at the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room National Stakeholders’ Forum on Elections in Abuja.

According to Okoye, as far as the electoral management body is concerned, INEC is still operating with the existing electoral legal framework because the new one is still in incumbent.

He said there were some fundamental issues around the new electoral framework, one of the big issues as far as the electoral management body is concerned related to the deepening of democracy through the use of technology.

He said that INEC from the beginning, made a determination that it is important in the national interest to reduce human interference in the electoral process, and based on that, decided to deepen the use of technology in the electoral process.

“That explains why as at today, political parties file particulars of their nominated candidates electronically they no longer come to our office with documents.

“As at today, domestic election observers, international election observers and the media apply for accreditation electronically.

“INEC is the first electoral management body in Africa to introduce online voter registration exercise and based on this you can see the astronomical rise in the number of young persons who have done their pre-registration before capturing their biometrics.

“Now, what is it in the new electoral bill that is different? Prior to this particular period, the uploading of polling units results was just for public views.’’

Okoye said the second issue related to internal democracy in political parties which had been very challenging and difficult to handle.

Chairman, House Committee on electoral and political matters, Aisha Dukku, said that the assembly received bashing from all over and that helped to model them to work hard to sit up and to face the reality of the situation.

“A lot of work went into the bill and I am happy that in a few hours we will know what the outcome is going to be.

“We are now just waiting for Mr President to assent to the bill, going forward we will work to move Nigerian election system forward to be a world credible election, transparent election, with credible result that will be accepted by all,’’ she said

President, Women in Politics Forum, Ebere Ifendu, said that the major problem women face in politics was the issue of internal party democracy.

Convener, Situation Room, Ene Obi, urged the President to assent to the new electoral bill in good time to allow for preparation for the 2023 general elections.

According to Obi, Situation Room’s Stakeholders’ Forum on elections which is now in its seventh edition, is an annual event that brings together interest groups and stakeholders to share lessons.

 

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