ABUJA, NIGERIA — Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, has signed an election reform bill that activists hope will increase transparency and inclusion.
In his village, Buhari signed the 2022 electoral amendment bill, on February 25 Friday, in the presence of cabinet members and several lawmakers.
President stated that while signing the agreement, the bill included “salient and praiseworthy conditions that could positively revolutionize elections in Nigeria through the opening of new technological inventions.”
The signing came after a campaign by electoral reform activists urging the president to sign the bill, which lawmakers passed in January 2022.
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Activists praised the bill’s signing by the president. Godbless Otubure is the founder of Ready to Lead Africa, a civic organization that supports the new law.
According to Otubure, “A lot of people were not ready to accept that this is a Nigeria, nobody is going to give you good electoral reforms, but still, we continue the campaign and today. As a result, the President of Nigeria signed the electoral bill into law. We are excited; however, it is not perfect legislation, but it is an incredible improvement of what we right now have.”
Notable legislative innovations include electronic transmission of election results, electronic voter accreditation, and increased accessibility for people with disabilities.
According to the president, that law will enhance Nigeria’s elections’ efficiency, clarity, and transparency and address the disputes often arising from dissatisfied political parties.
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Ibrahim Faruq is the Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement program manager. He is encouraged by the new law.
According to Faruq, “for the 2023 general elections, we are going to continue these engagements and find the path from where we can actually turn up our democracy so that citizens can enjoy the dividends of our democracy.”
However, these bills have already been passed five times before by the lawmakers, but at that time president was not ready to sign the bills. He refused to sign that, saying they needed more work.
As Nigeria prepares to go to the polls in a year, many will be watching to see how – and if – the new bill alters the status quo.