NLC urges Buhari to sign electoral amendment bill into law

From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja

Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sign into law the 2021 Electoral Amendment Bill recently passed by two chambers of the National Assembly.

NLC, in a letter dated November 23, 2021 and signed by its President, Ayuba Wabba, requested President Buhari to urgently sign it as the document will address the contentious matter of direct primaries and the mainstreaming of technology in Nigeria’s electoral law.

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He said the bill will ultimately promote a more transparent and credible electioneering process in Nigeria.

“The NLC 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, State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC), and local governments; in spite of your heroic effort to free them. Given their stranglehold 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,” NLC said in  the statement.

The NLC boss appealed to Buhari to demonstrate courage and leadership by assenting to the bill as it will protect Nigeria’s 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 the process of direct primary 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,” he said.

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