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DON'T SABOTAGE ELECTORAL REFORMS, GROUPS WARN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

By NBF News
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A coalition of civil society groups and election observers accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has called on the two Chambers of the National Assembly not to sabotage the ongoing electoral reforms through unnecessary delay in effecting the required amendments in the Electoral Act and the 1999 Constitution.

The group also urged President Goodluck Jonathan to allow the present's nominee for INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, a free hand in the discharge of his duties and to adequately empower the commission in the area of funding.

In a press statement issued yesterday in Abuja, the coalition called on members of the National Assembly to expedite action on the review and amendment of the various sections of the Constitution and the Electoral Act to accelerate the electoral reform process.

The statement, jointly signed by Rev. Dr. Onwubuya Breakforth and Mallama Zainab as chairman and secretary respectively, commended President Jonathan and members of the Council of States for nominating Professor Jega to chair the nation's electoral body. It described it as a welcome development for the sustenance of democracy.

The coalition however, enjoined the leadership and members of the National Assembly to confirm zega's appointment without hesitation.

Part of the statement reads: 'We, the registered civil society organizations already collaborating with INEC, pledge our resolve to give our best, having gained tremendous field experience in areas of strengthening the electoral process in the country. We want to use this medium to appeal to the conscience of members of the National Assembly to expedite action on the review and amendment of the Constitution and the Electoral Act.

We hereby warn that any further delay by the upper and lower chambers of the National Assembly in concluding the electoral reforms would amount to lack of patriotism and an attempt to sabotage the entire process. We also wish to appeal to Mr. President to give the Professor Jega-led INEC a free hand to work ahead of the 2011 general elections.'