- Category: Politics
- Published on Wednesday, 25 August 2010 07:43
- Written by Nigerian Tribune
- Hits: 1229
THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), on Tuesday, warned of a serious threat to the 2011 elections, when it claimed that powerful forces and interests were bent on circumventing the elections fixed for January next year.
The congress, therefore, warned Nigerians to be well armed to defend their votes, otherwise, “we should get ready to sing once more, the dirge of the chronicles of death foretold. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.”
President of the congress, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, while raising the alarm on the alleged activities of the forces, said that the appointment of Professor Attahiru Jega as the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), no matter how well received by Nigerians, would not automatically translate into free and fair elections, because of the activities and plans of the powerful forces.
Comrade Omar, who was speaking at a lecture and book presentation organised to mark the 50th birthday of the General Secretary of the NLC, Comrade John Ejoha Onah, said: “The Nigeria Labour Congress cautions that the appointment of Professor Attahiru Jega would not automatically translate into free and fair elections as there are still very powerful forces and interests bent on circumventing our collective aspiration to true sovereignty through the ballot box.”
Besides, the NLC president said the retention of most of the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), “whose names resonated loudly in the charade that characterised the 2007 general election, in the current dispensation does not engender confidence in an already badly traumatised electoral system.”
Comrade Omar said: “What can Jega really do if he is surrounded by people whose paramount interest is everything but delivering credible elections to the Nigerian electorate?
“If one considers the recent confessions of Donald Duke, former governor of Cross River State, on how governors used RECs to perpetrate electoral fraud, then one would begin to appreciate the magnitude of the challenge we have on our hands as we zero into 2011.”
More worrying, according to Comrade Omar, is the body language of the politicians, as the clock ticks closer to the 2011 general polls.
He said: “The unnecessary confusion and delay in enacting the recent concluded constitutional amendments is a pointer to the inherent capacity of most of our politicians to use every trick in the books to frustrate the credible conduct of 2011 elections.
“This same misguided attitude and mischief was displayed by some members of the National Assembly before INEC could get approval for the budget it needed to conduct a fresh voter registration exercise and the 2011 elections. We are obviously in doubt that we are all on the same page as far as ensuring that we redeem our heavily battered electoral image.”
However, he stated that “we must successfully deal with the assassins of our nationhood if the lofty dreams of achieving free, fair and credible elections would materialise in 2011, otherwise, we should get ready to sing once more the dirge of the chronicles of death foretold. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.”
In his own lecture entitled: “Assassins of Nation Building, 2011 Elections and Electoral Reforms in Nigeria: Chronicle of a Death Foretold,” Dr Festus Iyayi described the Nigerian ruling class as irresponsible because, according to him, it is indolent, hedonistic, and corrupt, while its greed has no remorse and knows no limits.”
He pointed out that when members of the ruling class stole in billions, the people were left to survive on the pennies that will not fit into the Ghana-Must-Go bags of the thieves.
He stated that as far as the ruling class was concerned, there were indications that the 2011 elections would be no different from the previous elections, adding that the recent elections in Bauchi State and the previous re-runs in some local government areas in Ekiti State confirmed that the dispositions and mindsets of members of the ruling class had not changed.
Dr Iyayi said that the amended Electoral Act signed into law last Friday did not address the substance of the recommendations in the Uwais Report such as the issues of the manner of the appointment of the INEC chairman, the need for a genuine independent body, and the role of big money in elections, the nature of electoral violence and rigging and the need to have stiff sanctions as deterrent.