Charles Oputa, popularly known as Charly Boy, on Tuesday, stormed the office of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to protest over what it described as ‘observable lacuna’ in the Nigeria’s electoral laws.
The Senate and the House of Assembly had recently rejiggered the earlier released election timetable by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Apparently worried by this development, Charly Boy, led a group of good governance advocates under the aegis of “Our Mumu Don Do” movement were received by Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the Chief of Staff to Mr Saraki, who promised to convey their message to his principal.
According to him, the repeated failure to convince millions of Nigerians, through relevant reforms, results in the steady decline in voters’ turn-out since 2003 general elections.
He also lamented the poor funding of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, by the National Assembly in last year’s appropriation which, it said, impedes the success of the on-going Continuous Voters’ Registration, CVR, exercise.
Mr Oputa expressed the readiness of the group to strategically engage with the leadership of the National Assembly on the kinds of reforms that will help remedy the deficiencies plaguing Nigeria’s electoral process.
He further warned that if necessary actions are not taken to address the issues, it will be difficult to eradicate voter-apathy and disenfranchisement, and even more difficult to sustain our democracy.
He said: “We wish to acknowledge the commitment of the National Assembly, especially the senate in carrying out some far-reaching reforms and amendments of the Electoral Act, even though it could still be better.
“We are also not unmindful of the fact that we cannot have a perfect document yet; as ours is still a growing democracy but hopefully, we will continue to learn from our mistakes, and cover necessary gaps.
“In furtherance of our engagement with all stakeholders in the electoral process, we have decided to meet with you following some observable lacuna in the on-going registration of new voters, a development which has been attributed to poor funding and other issues.
“It may interest you to know that ‘Children of Democracy’ born after May 29, 1999, will be eligible to vote for the first time in 2019, and we must ensure that they are given a pride of place in our nation,” he said.