Direct primaries’ll tackle godfatherism- NLC

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Monday said the congress is taking a stand with the majority of Nigerians that commended the two chambers of National Assembly for passing the amendment of the Electoral Act.

President of the congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, in a statement said the items of amendment included the adoption of direct primaries for internal political parties’ contestations. The other was the accommodation of the use of technology in the conduct of general elections in Nigeria and the expansion of the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to develop guidelines as it deems fit to guide the deployment of technology during elections in Nigeria.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari must urgently give assent to the amended Electoral Act because it will promote internal democracy among the political parties and the general elections.

“Majority of Nigerians have described the 2021 amendments of the Electoral Act as one of the most progressive enactments that Nigeria has had in a long time. This is also the view of the NLC.

The leadership of the congress commends the House of Representatives and the Senate particularly the leadership of the National Assembly who stood rock solid behind the proposal for direct primaries for all political parties and rallied their colleagues in the House and the Senate to pass the bill into law.

This is the proof of committed leadership and true statesmanship.

The Congress must, however, caution that the passage of the 2021 amendment to the Electoral Act is only a journey and not a destination.

A lot more certainly needs to be done in order to fully sanitise Nigeria’s challenged electioneering system especially building on the 2007-2011 electoral reforms which the NLC actively participated in. First is to tackle the menace of godfatherism, ‘godmotherism’ and money politics which were the major concerns that necessitated the new law on direct primaries for all political parties. Due diligence and oversight must be applied to ensure that unscrupulous politicians who have been a cultured to vote buying, monetisation of Nigeria’s electoral process are not allowed to extend their habitual criminal subversion of our democracy to political party members during political party primary elections.