BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
CONCERNED by widespread criticisms and attempts by politicians to manipulate the on-going voters’ registration exercise, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, yesterday urged the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, to be firmed and not to be intimidated in commission’s pursuit of conducting a free and fair election come April 2011.
NLC, through its President, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, argued that unwarranted attacks on the INEC Chairman and condemnation trailing the voters’ registration, could be a ploy by politicians to force him to resign, so that they could take advantage of it to rig in the April elections.
Addressing delegates and guests at the 95th quadrennial delegate conference of the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees, NUBIFIE, in Kaduna, Comrade Omar said: “I suspect that this is aimed at frustrating Jega to resign so that dubious politicians can have the opportunity to rig.
He must not resign.”, and to shower support to the INEC Chairman, Comrade Omar declared: “We are going to meet with Jega to insist that he should not be intimidated. We will encourage him to remain firm. We all must rise to support Jega because it is too early to condemn the process entirely.”
He called on Nigerian workers not only to register but serve as agents of mass mobilisation for Nigerians in order to ensure the success of the exercise and forthcoming general elections.
Earlier, the Kaduna State council of NLC advised the state government to declare a half working-day for three days to enable civil servants in the state fully participate in the voters’ register exercise.
Chairman of the State NLC, Comrade Danlandi Bisallah, contended that this had become necessary in view of the strategic importance of the April 2011 general elections to Nigeria as a nation.
According to him: “All hands must be on deck and everybody must participate in the voter registration to ensure that our votes count in bringing a government that is trusted and supported and will secure a better living for Nigreians. In view of this, we call on the Kaduna State government to declare three days as half-working days for civil servants in the state to enable them participate in the registration exercise.”
On his part, President of NUBIFIE, Comrade Ade-Martin Odigie, said for the amendments in the electoral act achieved the desired result, politicians must change their attitudes to electoral contest, and subject themselves to the popular wish of the electorate at all times with sportsmanship.