africa

Electoral bill: Don’t yield to governors’ pressure, NLC writes Buhari


The Nigeria Labour Congress has lent its weight to the clamour on the electoral bill, saying the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), should assent the Amendment Bill passed by the National Assembly.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, in a letter to the President, described the bill as one of the most progressive bills and a product of thoughtfulness from the National Assembly in recent times.

He urged Buhari not to yield to the pressure from state governors and other groups, describing their opposition to the mode of primary contained in the bill as “a classic case of greed for political power, inordinate ambition, a ruthless quest for command and control in a democracy and mindless expansionist tendencies.”

The letter dated November 23, 2021, titled, ‘Please assent the Electoral Bill,’ reads, “We are not unaware of the tremendous pressure being brought to bear on you by state governors across party lines and other selfish interest groups and individuals to do otherwise.

“This pressure, we are afraid to say, represents a classic case of greed for political power, inordinate ambition, a ruthless quest for command and control in a democracy, mindless expansionist tendencies and further proof of the iron cast will of a few persons among us to erode time-tested democratic values and to subvert our democratic institutions.

“At the moment, it is trite knowledge that governors, against all decent norms, control the state legislatures, judiciary, SIEC (State Independent Electoral Commission) and local governments; in spite of your heroic effort to free them. Given their stranglehold on SIEC and their intolerance for the opposition, bestowing upon them the power to determine who goes to the National Assembly will amount to taking undue chances with our democracy.”

The congress called on Buhari to once again “demonstrate courage, leadership as well as protect our democracy. History beckons upon you as the nation and the international community wait for you with bated breath.”

The union added, “We recall instances in the past when you stood up to be counted. Nothing should change that now, not even the possible threat of blackmail.

“At the risk of stating the obvious, we do earnestly believe that the process of direct primaries will free up and deepen the democratic space, unmask and strip dictators of their powers, inspire confidence in honest and patriotic Nigerians to run for elections and not only the favoured godsons and goddaughters.”

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