THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has urged all persons aggrieved by the conduct of the elections with genuine grievances to resort to the legal process for the redress of all wrong while it violates existing laws.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the congress also described the deployment of military personnel to harass political rivals as a new low in our electoral history and presents a serious setback to recent electoral reform gains.
In the spirit of the peace accord signed by the major political parties prior to the election, the Congress called on those who have genuine grievances to go to court, rather than seek self-help.
The statement, signed on behalf of the NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, by a Deputy President of the Congress, Comrade Amechi Asugwuni, read: “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. Those with genuine grievances should resort to the legal process for the redress of all wrongs.
“As patriots who are committed to nation-building, we have no other option but to collectively work towards the sustenance, improvement and deepening of our democracy. There is no option to democracy.”
The statement added: “Despite the fears expressed by Nigerians with respect to the deployment of the military during elections, soldiers were deployed presumably to preempt ballot box snatching, destruction of voting materials and arrest any drift to widespread violence.
“While the deployment of the military was helpful in preventing skirmishes from different local hotspots from degenerating into society-wide brigandage, the conduct of some soldiers deployed in some parts of the country to maintain public order left a lot to be desired.
“First, contrary to the judgements of Federal High Courts in Sokoto and Lagos which were later upheld by the Court of Appeal in the legal suit – ‘Yussuf vs Obasanjo’ – and which stated that the job of maintaining security during elections primarily resides with the Police, some military personnel went outside their duty call to invade polling units and collation centres, and intimidate election officials, conducts that were in violation of our laws and scared many voters from exercising their franchise.
“Also, the deployment of military personnel to harass political rivals was a new low in our electoral history and presents a serious setback to recent electoral reform gains.
“We call on the military high command to investigate these infractions and bring the culprits, whoever they are, to book as a deterrence to others.
“Going forward, there is a need for serious national conversations on critical areas of improvement in the conduct of elections in Nigeria. We also call for a sincere revisit of the Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Report especially as it relates to reinforcing INEC’s independence, unbundling of INEC and setup of Elections Offences Commission.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to show commitment to implementing aspects of Uwais Report which relevance is validated by recent developments in our electoral space. We also demand 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.”
The Congress, however, said the conduct of the 2019 general election was largely peaceful in many parts of the country, but added that there were a number of logistic and security issues that dogged the conduct of the election.
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