2019: CSOs Urge N’Assembly to Pass Presidential Transition Bill into Law

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By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Civil Societies Organisations (CSOs) have called on the National Assembly to pass the Presidential Transition Bill into law ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The CSOs made the call on Tuesday at the Civil Societies Consultative Forum on Executive Transfer of Power from one Democratically Elected Government to Another organised by Save Democracy Africa (SDA), with support from National Judicial Institute (NDI), UKAid‎ and USAID.
The Director General of SDA and  Project ‎Director, Dr. Ifedi Okwenna said that the consultative ‎meeting was aimed at sharing experiences and raising awareness of the participating civil society and non governmental organisations on democratic transition best practices across the globe.
He also said  that the meeting was  also aimed at highlighting the importance of the executive transition law in making for a smooth and orderly transfer of power and reduction in the bickering and mudslinging associated with transition when situation arises.
Okwenna noted that‎ the latest wave of democratic experiments among States in Africa are rather unplanned and characterised by the absence of concrete legislative and administrative procedures as well as the absence of theoretical studies and framework.
He said that the greatest challenge with the new political model is the undetermined mechanism for delivering the alternation or political transfer of government machinery from one democratically elected president to another after election.
Okwenna‎ pointed out that as long as African countries are practising multipartyism, there would always be opportunity for alternation of power as determined by the  electorate ‎from time to time.
This he said would required settled laws, agreed rules and regulations and administrative structure for ensuring peaceful and orderly transfer of power in the event of such alternation ‎of power.
Okwenna said that,  “with  the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015‎, there was an inescapable need for transition and having no existing laws in places confusion, mistrust and mutual suspicion ‎ regained supreme.”
Against this background, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) facilitated in 2016, a Stakeholders’ ‎Dialogue on Presidential Transition in Abuja; and subsequently gave birth to five different bills on Presidential Transition in the two Chambers of the National Assembly. Three of the bills are in the Senate and two in the House.
He stated: “today, none has been passed into law. While the House bill sponsored by Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has gone pass the second reading and a public hearing conducted by Justice Committee of the House, yet Presidential Transition Bill is not popular among the legislators, the political stakeholders, the media and civil society groups.
“It is feared that if left unguided  ‎might remain at the committee level untreated like many similar bills.‎”
He also said that the meeting was also aimed at highlighting the importance of the executive transition law making for a smooth and orderly transfer of power and reduction in the bickering and mudslinging associated with transition when the situation arises.
Okwenna noted that‎ the latest wave of democratic experiments among states in Africa are rather unplanned and characterised by the absence of concrete legislative and administrative procedures as well as the absence of theoretical studies and framework.
He said that the greatest challenge with the new political model is the undetermined mechanism for delivering the alternation or political transfer of government machinery from one democratically elected president to another after election.
Okwenna‎ pointed out that as long as African countries are practising multipartyism, there would always be opportunity for alternation of power as determined by the  electorate ‎from time to time.
This, he said, would require settled laws, agreed rules and regulations and administrative structure for ensuring peaceful and orderly transfer of power in the event of such alternation ‎of power.
Okwenna said: “With the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015‎, there was an inescapable need for transition and having no existing laws in place confusion, mistrust and mutual suspicion‎ regained supreme.”
Against this background, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) facilitated in 2016, a Stakeholders’ ‎Dialogue on Presidential Transition in Abuja; and subsequently gave birth to five different bills on Presidential Transition in the two chambers of the National Assembly. Three of the bills are in the Senate and two in the House.
He stated: “Today, none has been passed into law. While the House bill sponsored by Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has gone pass the second reading and a public hearing conducted by Justice Committee of the House, yet the Presidential Transition Bill is not popular among the legislators, the political stakeholders, the media and civil society groups.
“It is feared that if left unguided it ‎might remain at the committee level untreated like many similar bills.‎”