ACN Alerts Nigerians On Antics Of Legislators

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Action Congress of Nigeria Publicity Secretary.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Action Congress of Nigeria Publicity Secretary.

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has alerted Nigerians to a clandestine plan by  the National Assembly to smuggle into the Constitution of the Federal Republic of  Nigeria the contentious amendment on the regulation of political parties by the  assembly, despite massive opposition to the amendment.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji  Lai Mohammed, the party said the National Assembly has concluded plans to send the  amended Constitution containing the contentious regulation of party primaries, party  congresses and conventions by the National Assembly to President Goodluck Jonathan  for his assent this week in line with the court ruling to that effect.

Lai Muhammed

“In what amounts to lawmaking by subterfuge, the National Assembly substituted  Section 228 (a) and (b) of the Principal Act for a new Section 228 (a) and (b) that  reads thus: Powers of the National Assembly with respect to Political Parties

(a) guidelines and rules to ensure internal democracy within political parties,  including making laws for the conduct of party primaries, party congresses and party  conventions; and

(b) the conferment on the Independent National Electoral Commission of powers as may  appear to the National Assembly to be necessary or desirable for the purpose of  enabling the Commission more effectively to ensure that political parties observe  the practices of internal democracy, including the fair and transparent conduct of  party primaries, party congresses and party conventions

“What the National Assembly has done in effect now is far worse than what Nigerians  had cried out against. While the fear has been that the legislators were busy  amending the Electoral Act 2010 to serve their narrow and selfish interests, they  have indeed over-reached themselves by now including this contentious issue in the  Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, unknown to Nigerians!

“If they succeed in cajoling President Jonathan to sign the amended Constitution, as  we learnt he may do since he and the National Assembly are said to have reached an  agreement to that effect, then our democracy is in trouble, as the National Assembly  will simply turn political parties to its departments and push them around at will,  in the name of making laws for the conduct of the parties’ affairs.

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“Whereas a court of competent jurisdiction can strike out a law on the grounds that  such law offends the Constitutional rights of an individual, no court can strike out  any Constitutional provision. In other words, if this provision is allowed to pass,  there is no recourse for Nigerians in any court.

“To amend such a law will require the assent of two thirds majority of members of  the National Assembly in addition to passing a simple majority of at least 24 state  Houses of Assembly. Overturning such an amendment in a PDP-dominated assembly is  near impossible.

“That is why we have decided to cry out now so that all Nigerians can know what is  going on and how their representatives have been deceiving them, just to satisfy  their own narrow and selfish interest,’’ ACN said.

The party called on President Jonathan not to allow himself to be railroaded into  signing into law any Constitutional Amendment that contains this democracy-killing  section. The President must stay on the side of Nigerians and act only in the  interest of the nation’s democracy, not that of a increasingly egocentric and  narcissistic lawmakers.

“We also call on Nigerians to rise up in the defence of the democracy which they  sacrificed so much to achieve, by prevailing on the National Assembly to immediately  drop this incredibly shocking amendment,’’ it said.

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