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‘Selfish politicians against direct primary’ – NLC asks Buhari to sign electoral bi

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the electoral act amendment bill into law.

The national assembly on November 19 transmitted the electoral bill to Buhari for assent.

This is coming days after the senate and house of representatives approved the conference committee report on the bill.

In the conference committee report, both chambers of the national assembly empowered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to determine the best mode to transmit election results and also approved that all political parties must use the direct primary mode in picking candidates.

However, the decision to adopt direct primaries for political parties has elicited varied reactions, with stakeholders including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some All Progressives Congress (APC) governors kicking against it.

In a letter dated November 23, 2021 and titled: ‘Please Assent the Electoral Bill’, Ayuba Wabba, NLC president asked Buhari to “demonstrate courage, leadership as well as protect our democracy” by signing the electoral bill into law.

NLC said the opposition of direct primary by political parties “represents a classic case of greed for political power”.

“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,” the letter reads.

“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. 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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