Yesterday, the National Assembly took to the presidency; the Electoral Bill 2021 for assent. This was confirmed through the Presidential liaison officer to the Senate Babajide Omoworare who affirmed that the bureaucracy of the National Assembly submitted the document to the President yesterday.
President Buhari had in December 2021 declined assent to the electoral bill. The President hinged his veto on the provision for mandatory direct primary elections to be conducted by political parties.
While Nigerians thought the National Assembly would override the President’s veto, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) including IFA discovered errors in 11 sections of the bill which could hinder the president from signing the bill. The discovery by the CSOs helped in the clean-up of the bill by the National Assembly bureaucracy, leading to the submission yesterday.
Reacting to the development, the Executive Director of the Inclusive Friends Association Grace Jerry, expressed optimism about the passage of the bill hoping to gain the President’s attention within one week.
Jerry retreated that the passage of the Bill will mandate the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use assistive devices such as the braille ballot guide, form EC40 PWD, magnifying glasses, etc. which will make independent voting for persons with disabilities possible.
“Am glad that the National Assembly could quickly make the necessary amendment and send back the Bill for assent by the President. Following the amendment by the National Assembly, and the cleanup by the consortium of CSOs; the President has no excuse but to bow to the call of Nigerians and the PWDs communities. I know the president will love to make history just as he did assent the Disability law in 2019, am optimistic that the President will assent to the Bill within one week. IFA looks forward to accessible and inclusive general elections come 2023. Assenting to the bill will mandate INEC to provide assistive devices for persons with disabilities which will make independent voting by persons with disabilities possible”