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Civil Society Statement on the Senate and House Vote on Clause 84 on Nomination of Candidates in the Electoral Bill 2021

The undersigned Civil Society groups commend the swift action taken by the National Assembly upon resumption to review its position on direct primaries as the sole mode for nomination of candidates in the Electoral Bill 2021.

At today’s plenary, the Senate and House of Representatives recommitted the Electoral Bill 2021 with proposed amendment to Clause 84 dealing with nomination of candidates. While the Senate voted for direct, indirect and consensus mode as procedure for the nomination of candidates, the House of Representatives voted for the conduct of direct and indirect primaries as the acceptable mode of nomination of candidates.

We reject the decision of the Senate to introduce a completely new mode of “consensus” as a procedure for candidates’ nomination. The Consensus mode is antithetical to democratic principles and will result in the subversion of popular will. Furthermore, it violates the rights of aspirants to equal participation in party primaries and limits the choice of voters to candidates who did not emerge from democratic primary elections. Judging from experience, consensus has occasioned a litany of litigations in Nigeria’s electoral process.

We call on the Senate to, in line with the popular will of Nigerians, adopt the position of the House of Representatives which now recognizes direct and indirect primaries as procedure for nomination of candidates.

With this development, a harmonization committee will now have to be constituted by the leadership of the National Assembly to harmonize the divergent positions of both chambers thereby delaying the speedy conclusion of the process. We therefore call for the immediate withdrawal of this new introduction which is alien to the original Electoral Bill 2021 to speed up the work of the harmonization committee and conclusion of the amendment process on or before the 21 January 2022 deadline. As indicated in our earlier statement, any further delay will undermine public confidence in the reform process and therefore unacceptable.

Signed.
Yiaga Africa
International Press Centre (IPC)
Centre for Citizens with Disability (CCD)
The Albino Foundation
CLEEN Foundation
Institute for Media and Society (IMS)
Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF)
Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ)
Partners for Electoral Reform (PER)
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC)
Nigeria Network of Non-Governmental Organizations (NNNGO)
Inclusive Friends Association (IFA)

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