Labour Party Demands Full Autonomy for Local Councils,

By Marlikberry,

As the National Assembly resumes plenary session and debate on the Electoral Act, the Labour Party (LP) has urged the Assembly to ensure full autonomy for local government councils, as well as the abolition of State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC).

The party said any amendment that failed to give full autonomy to local government councils, as well as abolish the SIEC) is an amendment only meant to serve the political elite.

It said that the amended Electoral Act should grant the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the responsibility to conduct local government elections in the country.

In a statement issued yesterday by the National Secretary of the LP, Mr. Julius Abure, the party also described as unfortunate the decision of the National Assembly to embark on the two-week vacation purposely for the membership revalidation of a political party at a time the country was facing various challenges.

Abure, therefore, urged the legislators “to wear the garment of patriotism and for once take the opportunity of the ongoing amendment to reflect the yearnings and aspirations of the people.”

Other areas the Labour Party would want the National Assembly to consider during the amendment include: “An amendment that will legitimise the use of technology in the electoral system, which will ease the participation of the visually impaired persons and other persons living with disabilities in the electoral process, as well as enhance youth participation in electoral process among others.”

The statement reads: “As previously stated, a viable, dependable and a credible electoral process is a panacea for growth and development in Nigeria. This is particularly so since it will create the ambience and enabling environment for patriotic, intelligent, result-oriented Nigerians to emerge as leaders of the country. At the moment, Nigeria needs such leadership in order to confront the plethora of problems facing the country. The country must be repositioned for service delivery to its citizens.

This underscores the importance for us as a country to embark on a comprehensive reform of our electoral process, which must begin in the amendment of the 1999 Constitution as amended and the Electoral Act.

Accordingly, we call all members of the National Assembly to wear the garment of patriotism and to for once take hold of the momentous opportunity of the ongoing amendment to reflect the yearnings and aspirations of the people.

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