v  Says not the will of Nigerians

A women socio political group in Imo State under the aegis of “Imo Women for Peace and Good Leadership Initiatives, a Non-Governmental Organization of Concerned Imo Women who not only canvass for the inclusion of women in governance but also to improve the socio economic opportunities for child, has called on the President to assent to a recent “controversial bill passed by the National Assembly on the electronic transmission of election result saying it is not the peoples’ will or choice.

In a statement issued in Owerri last Monday, endorsed by Mrs May Ugwuh and Dr Mrs Bibiana Okereafor as chair person and Director of Operation respectively and made available to the media. 

The group said that they have watched with keen interest developments in the political scene and how the political class of this country has continued to take the nation backwards when other democracies are making progress in their respective states.

The group which strives to eliminate all forms of abuse and discrimination against the female child said it notes with great disappointment that after heated argument on electronic transmission of election results the senate failed the people by rejecting a popular step that is expected to enthrone transparency in our democratic process.

The women stated that “we are amazed that a government that is championing the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to improve its processes and quality of life, its leadership would be shying away from adopting the same thing it claims to hold so dear and IMOWPGLI cannot but view it as hypocritical that the country’s political leadership that adopts and cherishes the use of electronic banking, (eg ATM), National Identification Number (NIN), e-business, phone communications and every automated processes would reject the use of electronic processes to transmit election results. Are we no longer in an IT age?”

The decision of the Senate is clearly not reflecting the massive opinions of Nigerians nationwide and globally but that of the selfish interest of politicians who do not bother about good governance. They are still bent on rigging the processes which excludes credible candidates. Our concern is that a flawed process risks putting our women and our children, the most vulnerable group, in continuous challenges arising from throwing up fraudulent leaders who can only give what they have.

They said for this we align ourselves with the views of Nigerian League of Women Voters (NILOWV) on the issue of astronomical increase of campaign funds. The upping of the campaign funds by over 1500 percent is a deliberate effort to exclude and disenfranchise women from seeking political office. Special provisions and waivers instead should be allowed to encourage women participation.

And also we also reject the provisions in Section 65 which strips INEC of its powers to announce results and which also empowers Returning Officers to do so. This risks result declaration under duress and in collusion with fraudulent politicians.

We are therefore calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to withhold assent to the bill until the controversial issues surrounding it are reviewed and resolved. We also call on Nigerians to drum up support for a fair and transparent process and pressure the legislators to do the right thing”.