Story from Najib SANI, Bauchi
As the National Assembly holds public hearings on constitution review, a Non Governmental Organisation ‘Yiaga Africa’ has recommended ten top priorities on electoral act amendment in the constitution.
The NGO proferred the recommendations during a roundtable it organised for civil society organisations and other citizens of Bauchi State on how they can make a difference at the public hearings.
A facilitator at the event, Nasiru Umar Launi said the organisation was more concerned about electoral reforms in the constitution review in such a way that the present lapses could be addressed and youth and women would be carried along in the governance of the country.
He enumerated the recommended priorities on the electoral act amendment to include; strengthening the financial independence of INEC, use of technology in the electoral process, reducing cost of nomination of candidates, stiffer sanctions for bribery and vote buying and promoting the inclusion of women, youth and persons with disability in politics.
Other priorities proposed by the NGO were; protecting the rights of visually impaired, incapacitated voters, voting rights for Nigerians in diaspora, imposing security operatives to abide by rules of engagement on election day, early voting for citizens on essential duties as well as publication of polling units results by INEC on its website.
In her remarks, the focal person of Yiaga Africa in Bauchi State, Zainab Muhammad Hassan explained that the objective of the roundtable was to provide information on how citizens can engage at the public hearings.
“It is essential that as citizens, we play a crucial role in determining the constitution’s provision. Yes, citizens have the constitutional and legal right to make input during a bill process particularly at the public hearing”. She stated.