The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has called on the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, to be extra vigilant and careful in the handling of the Edo state gubernatorial elections on July 14.
“He must not allow anyone, including INEC staff or commissioners to compromise his credibility, the Congress said in a statement signed by its Actign President, Kiri Mohammed. “Every registered voter must be allowed to freely vote without intimidation. And all the votes must count.”
The NLC said it has been watching the disturbing political developments in the State, and that they portend dangerous signals to Nigeria’s young democracy.
It observed that while decent leaders continue to echo the need for our politicians and their political structures to adjust to fair play in political activities, including elections, some prominent politicians have continued to perpetrate actions that are clearly adverse to democratic norms.
“One of the contestants, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who is the sitting governor of the state, has publicly complained at various times about sinister plans by some politicians to manipulate the elections, while a staff of the Edo State office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was apprehended by vigilant youths in Benin City, the statement said. “The fears expressed by the Edo State governor are yet to be fully investigated to douse apprehension in the state.”
The NLC further expressed concern that a report in the media that some politicians from the State led by the leader of a major opposition party had met with the Presidency to perfect plans for the manipulation of the election has not even been refuted by the Presidency.
The NLC also called on all domestic and international election monitoring groups to gear up to observe the Edo State elections so as to ensure records of transparency and accountability of the electoral process and on the Inspector General of Police to come out and strongly reassure Nigerians that all security agencies that will be drafted to Edo for the event will be fully prepared, and to remember that they were recruited to protect lives and properties without bias.
“We call on all political parties and their candidates to demonstrate their commitment and resolve to deepening democracy by accepting to play by the rules and avoid the consequences of being held responsible for the ultimate damage any negative actions will have on our democracy and national image as a country,” the NLC said.