Former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for finally signing the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill 2022 into law while also hailing the National Assembly, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and other Nigerians who remained persistent in insisting that Nigeria deserves a new law that will guarantee free, fair and peaceful poll in 2023 and beyond.
Saraki in a statement signed by Yusuph Olaniyonu, Head of Abubakar Bukola Saraki Media Office, noted that while President Buhari deserves commendation for working with the federal legislature and rising above partisan interest to give the country a new law that could reform the electoral process, the big applause should go to the members of the civil society organizations who for the past one year have kept up the pressure and continuously agitated for the passage of the new Electoral Law.
“Let me specifically commend the effort of CSOs like Adopt A Goal Initiative, Raising New Voices Initiative, Human Rights Advocate, One Love Foundation, To Build The Nation Civil Society, Yiaga Africa, International Press Centre (IPC), Centre for Citizens With Disability (CDD), Albino Foundation, CLEEN Foundation, Institute for Media and Society (IMS), Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF), Human Rights Advocate, Ready to Lead Africa and Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCI), among many others. They have kept the issue of the passage of the Electoral Act on the front burner for the past year.
“They were unrelenting and with the passage of the law, they deserve to be specially commended. We hope they will continue this good work on other key issues that are very important to the development of our dear country.
“The youths in these CSOs have yet again proved that they can accomplish any task of nation-building if they set their minds to it. Their persistence, positive energy, and constructive agitation have contradicted any claim that Nigerian youths are lazy. Rather, the youths of today are reminding us of the role their forebears in the Nationalist struggle of the pre-independence era, particularly, the National Youth Movement (NYM), played in bringing an end to colonial rule.
“I enjoin these youths in the CSOs to take their efforts to another level. That is the level of mobilising their numerous colleagues to go and register to vote in the coming general elections. The new law provides an opportunity for all Nigerians of age 18 and above to be part of the efforts to build a better future for our country. They have the chance to have their voices heard loudly. We can all choose a better way and a better future. If we want a fresh start, if we want a new direction for Nigeria, we all have to vote for it.
“The new Electoral Act brings us closer to having free, fair, and peaceful elections in which people’s votes count, where the majority will have their way and the minority will have their say. For too long, the old electoral law had been part of the problem. We can now seek to elect our leaders having in mind the current challenges facing our country.
“With a new Electoral Act, we can move on to debating real solutions to the problems of insecurity, creation of jobs, strengthening of the economy, cementing national unity and building a better future for all Nigerians,” Saraki said.
Saraki recalled the various efforts that he and his colleagues made in the 8th National Assembly to give the country a new Electoral Act which led to their submitting the Bill four different times without getting the presidential assent.
“That is why it is with great joy that I welcome the news that the country finally a new Electoral Act. It is better late than never,” the former Senate President stated.