Friday, October 15, 2010
ACN raises alarm over ‘Right of First Refusal’ clause in Electoral Act
In a statement issued in Ilorin on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said if the plan succeeded, Nigeria could as well say goodbye to democracy, while the legislators would have simply succeeded in subjecting the citizens to perpetual servitude.
“We have learnt that the federal lawmakers are planning to insert this clause in response to the executive’s proposals on the Electoral Act’s amendment, which includes the use of party caucus to choose candidates for the 2011 elections.
“Our reaction is that both proposals are like the devil’s alternative. Whichever one sails through will sound the death knell of our democracy. We, therefore, call on Nigerians to reject both proposals, which have no precedent in any democracy in the world,” it said. ACN warned that if the lawmakers succeeded in inserting the ‘Right of First Refusal’ clause in the amended Electoral Act, it would become law and stay that way until amended, adding: “Of course, it will not be amended because it favours the same lawmakers who inserted it in the first place and who also have the power to amend it.”
It said even without a clause to ensure a tenure in perpetuity for them, the National Assembly members have yet to impact positively on the people. “Once they insert that clause and wriggle free of party control, they will become monsters. Only their whims and caprices will guide them in what laws to make. Of course, they would have succeeded too in shutting out every other aspirant to that office. That is democracy PDP-style,” ACN said.
It added that the lawmakers could as well extend such to members of the State Houses of Assembly, governors and even the president, thus handing over the nation’s democracy to a few fat cats.
ACN said the only reason the lawmakers were emboldened to even think of inserting such a devilish clause in the 2010 Electoral Act was the docility of Nigerians, who sat by while these people allotted to themselves obscene salaries and allowances in contravention of the Constitution.
The party said the continuing effort to constrict the democratic space was the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) legacy to Nigerians, after a decade of democracy. “PDP controls the executive and the legislature, and has been using this control to perpetually torment and suffocate Nigerians. All we have received from this house of cards called the PDP are useless arguments about zoning, bombings and kidnappings that are now spreading across the nation, a failed third term bid and the manipulation of the constitution for parochial interests, just to mention a few,” ACN said.