STOP THE MADNESS, LABOUR WARNS PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANTS
Organized labour has taken exception to the use of perceived inciting and uncouth statements in the build-up to the parties presidential primaries by aspirants of which President Goodluck Jonathan and former Vice-President Abubakar Atiku are notable.
Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) said is worried over the use of uncivilized terms by the political class in the country in the run for 2011 general elections and said it should be stopped forthwith in the interest of peace and our nascent democracy.
In a statement signed by the President and Secretary General of the congress, Messrs Peter Esele and John Kolawole respectively, the workers body said elections into political offices should not be seen as a do or die affair, but rather as a means of proffering solutions on how best to tackle the various challenges affecting us as a nation.
According to the congress, the period of campaign as done all over the world was a time whereby party's programmes and policies were sold to win the electorate. 'It is aspirants without any known programmes and policies that normally results to unacceptable methods in the course of electioneering process.' The TUC demanded that office seekers be engaged in intellectual debates with robust ideas that would expose identified loopholes in 'our political and economic systems and proffer solutions on how best to tackle them.'
It reminded all stakeholders in the political arena of the relevant sections of the Electoral Act which prohibits the use of abusive language and other foul plays during election campaign period. Section 95, subsection (1) says that; 'no political campaign or slogan shall be tainted with abusive language directly or indirectly likely to injure religious, ethnic, tribal or sectional feelings. While Sub-section (2) says; Abusive, intemperate, slanderous or base language or insinuations or innuendoes designed or likely to provoke violent reaction or emotions shall not be employed or used in political campaigns.
'Also, Sub-section 7 prescribes that; a political party or a person who contravenes any of the provision of this section is guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction-(a) in the case of an individual, to a maximum fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment for the term of 12 months; and (b) in the case of a political party, to a fine of N2,000,000 in the first instance, and N1,000,000 for any subsequent offence.
' Any person or group of persons who aids or abets a political party in contravening the provisions of Sub-section (5) of this section is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N500,000 or three years imprisonment or both.'