Anglican bishop tasks N’Assembly on electoral bill
•Monarch cautions against nationalisation of political parties
To protect Nigeria’s democracy, the Bishop of Anglican Communion, Kaduna Diocese, Timothy Yahaya, has challenged on all Senators in the National Assembly to veto President Muhammadu Buhari’s rejection of the electoral reform bill to convince Nigerians of their true independence as an arm of government.
Addressing reporters at the weekend after his Christmas message in Kaduna, the cleric asserted: “If the senators know that the National Assembly is the oxygen of democracy, they should do the right thing – override Mr. President and pass the bill into law.”
He also lamented the increasing security challenges in the country, saying measures must be put in place to enthrone peace in the country.
Yahaya argued that the President’s rejection of the piece of legislation “is one of indices that Nigeria has not started practising democracy,” adding that the political system “is doomed for it because of self-centredness.”
His words: “To be candid with you, Mr. President’s refusal to sign the Electoral (Amendment) Act Bill means Nigeria has not started democracy. What we are practising for now is Them own cracy.”
This is even as the Adeboruwa of Igbogbo Kingdom, Oba Semiudeen Orimadegun Kasali, has cautioned the government against nationalisation of political parties in the returned bill.
He gave the warning in his goodwill message to the security conference organised by the Institute of Security, Nigeria at the weekend in Lagos.
The conference with the theme, ‘Enhancing Integrity and Security Solutions to Election Threats and Political Violence in Democratic Environment,’ held at the University of Lagos, Akoka.
According to Oba Kasali, “factors responsible for fraudulent and violent elections include bad officials directly or indirectly engaged by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), partisan position of security agencies during electioneering period, monetisation of electoral processes and non-provision of a fair playing ground for those seeking electoral offices.”
On the legal implications of the bill, declined presidential assent, the royal father, who is also a lawyer, said direct primary should not be made compulsory for elective positions across all political parties in the country.
He added: “It is a systematic way of empowering a few members of the political party to become power brokers before whom the aspirants take a bow. It is an enormous privilege to reward a few loyal party members and this system is prone to abuse by moneybags.”
Political parties are not government agencies, but private associations with their own rules and governance systems, clearly known to members. The adoption, rejection and amendment of the rules are sine-qua-non for political parties. Lawmakers should not infantilise political party members in the guise of promoting internal democracy.”
In his welcome address, the Director-General of the Institute of Security, Nigeria, Adebayo Akinade, said: “The institute will continue to open up various channels for the expansion of the field of knowledge and the resource pool of the security and protection professionals in the public and private sectors in the country.”
He said, “the institute is in partnership with the Human Resources Development Board (HRBD) and UNILAG Consult, the University of Lagos for Professional Diploma and Specialist Certification programmes.”