14th October, 2010
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has raised an alarm over the danger posed to the nation’s democracy by the plan to insert a ‘Right of First Refusal’ clause for members of the National Assembly in the 2010 Electoral Act to give them an infinite tenure.
In a statement issued in Ilorin on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said if the plan succeeds, Nigeria can 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 succeed in inserting the ‘Right of First Refusal’ clause in the amended Electoral Act, it will 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 aspirants to that office. That is democracy PDP style,” ACN said.
It said the lawmakers can as well extend such to members of the State House 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 is 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 is the PDP’s legacy to Nigerians, after a decade of democracy.