To Build a Nation (TBAN), the nationwide non-partisan citizens movement founded by Professor Kingsley Moghalu, a presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections and a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has announced the kick-off of its campaign for one million signatures to a petition to the National Assembly for fundamental electoral reforms in Nigeria.
In separate letters addressed to Senator Ahmad Lawan, President of the Senate, and Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Moghalu stated:
“As a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and with the understanding of my constitutional role and duty as a citizen, I am writing to petition the National Assembly on the need to immediately ensure the fundamental reform of the legal framework governing our electoral process in order to safeguard our democracy and to strengthen our democratic institutions.”
Professor Moghalu called on all Nigerians who desire a deep reform of the legal framework for the country’s electoral system to join by downloading and signing a copy of the petition, which is available on TBAN’s website.
According to the statement, the petition calls for electronic accreditation of all voters, electronic collation of all votes, electronic transmission of votes from polling units, and the legal empowerment of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt electronic and digital voting in pilot phases by 2023 and fully by 2027.
The petition also called for eligible Nigerians in the diaspora to be allowed to exercise their political franchise by voting digitally in Nigerian elections by 2023.
Prof. Moghalu, who is a former senior official of the United Nations and a Professor of Public Policy at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, USA, resigned his membership of the YPP in October 2019 and convened TBAN in order to campaign for electoral and political reforms on a non-partisan basis.
The movement is dedicated to advocacy and mobilisation for the entrenchment of democratic ideals, including making citizens’ votes to count and a more informed electorate.
TBAN also advocates lower cost of governance, and for a constitutional restructuring of Nigeria back to true federalism.
The Upper Legislative Chamber has commended some of its members for withdrawing a suit they filed over allegations of forgery of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 used for the inauguration of the 8th Assembly.
A statement released by the Chairman Senate Adhoc Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Dino Melaye, commended members of both the Unity Forum, loyal to Senator Ahmad Lawan, and Senators loyal to Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki, for their maturity.
The Unity Forum Senators had filed the suit before the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking to impeach the Senate President and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
Justice Ademola Adeniyi of the Federal High Court struck out the case and terminated further hearing on the matter after the plaintiffs withdrew their suit.
Senator Melaye said the plaintiffs and their supporters have demonstrated that national interest is superior to an individual or group.
A bill which seeks to decentralize kerosine distribution has suffered setback in the Senate.
The bill seeks for direct allocation of kerosine from the Petroleum Pipeline Marketing Company (PPMC) to peddlers.
The sponsor of the bill, Senator Nkechi Nwaogu (PDP Abia) stressed that if passed into law, the bill would help stabilize the price of kerosine as well as ameliorate difficulties associated with kerosine distribution to rural areas.
Other lawmakers however did not support the bill on the grounds that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) currently before the National Assembly seeks to encourage total deregulation of the downstream sector.
Speaking against the bill, Senator Ahmad Lawan (ANPP Yobe) said supporting the bill would be encouraging inefficiency in the distribution of kerosene in the country.