By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA: Following the just concluded 2019 general elections in Nigeria, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has stressed the need for serious national conversations on critical areas of improvement in the conduct of elections in Nigeria.
This is just as the Congress called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to sincerely revisit the Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Report, especially as it relates to reinforcing INEC’s independence, unbundling of INEC and creation of Elections Offences Commission.
Making this call in Abuja on Tuesday, the Ag. President, NLC, Comrade Amechi Asugwuni, also urged President Buhari to show commitment to implementing aspects of Uwais Report which relevance is validated by recent developments in Nigeria’s electoral space.
NLC, also demanded that INEC must ensure free, fair, and credible elections in some states where the process was declared inconclusive and polls rescheduled for 23rd March 2019, adding that efforts must also be re-doubled to develop a new national civic culture that venerates the rule of law.
According to Asugwuni, “The trend where politicians consider themselves successful to the extent that they are able to manipulate our electoral laws, maim and kill their fellow citizens, bribe voters and perpetrate all sort of electoral shenanigans must be put to a stop!
“INEC shares some responsibilities in the shortcomings witnessed during the last general elections. First, despite the insistence by INEC on the use of card readers for the election, the purported failure of the card readers to read the finger prints of the electorates in many polling units resulted to widespread use of manual accreditation which many politicians took advantage of to deploy hired hands to vote with multiple Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) even in the absence of the authentic owners of the PVCs”, he announced.
The Congress, further called on INEC to completely; Outlaw the use of manual accreditation for voting; Ensure continuous audit of the voters roll; Take advantage of technological advancement and work with all relevant stakeholders to deploy technology in a way that minimizes to the barest human interference with Nigeria’s electoral process as a nation; and stick to early planning and adequate training of personnel deployed on election duties.
“Finally, in the spirit of the peace accord signed by the major political parties prior to the 2019 general election, we urge all persons aggrieved by the conduct of the elections to refrain from self-help”, Asugwuni said. “Those with genuine grievances should resort to the legal process for the redress of all wrongs”.
He noted that the NLC is committed to nation building, and has no other option but to collectively work towards the sustenance, improvement and deepening of Nigeria’s democracy. “There is no option to democracy!”