November 29, (THEWILL) – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the 2021 Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law.
The NLC in a letter signed by its president, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, and addressed to President Buhari, described the bill as one of the most progressive bills and a product of thoughtfulness from the National Assembly in recent times.
The NLC urged the President to ignore pressure from state governors and other groups, describing their opposition to the mode of primaries 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, reads: “Your Excellency, in view of the recent passage of the 2021 Electoral Amendment Bill by the two chambers of the National Assembly, we write to strongly urge and request you to support and assent to the recently transmitted Electoral Amendment bill from the National Assembly, especially in the matter of direct primaries and the mainstreaming of technology in our electoral law to promote a more transparent and credible electioneering process in Nigeria.
“The Nigeria Labour Congress notes that the 2021 Electoral Amendment bill is one of the most progressive bills to emanate from the National Assembly in recent times. We commend the bill as it is a product of thoughtfulness, courage, wisdom and patriotism.
“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 a 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, and local governments; in spite of your heroic effort to free them. Given their strangle hold on SIEC and their intolerance for opposition, bestowing upon them the power to determine who goes to the National Assembly will amount to taking undue chances with our democracy.
“In light of this dark reality, we find it necessary for Your Excellency 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.
“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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