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ACN Leadership Protests Against Electoral Act At National Assembly

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ABUJA, Nov 25, (THEWILL) - The leadership of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) today took its campaign against the proposed amendment to the 2010 Electoral Act to the National Assembly as it urged the parliament to jettison the bill saying it is unconstitutional. The new amendment to the Electoral Act is seeking to make National Assembly lawmakers members of the various parties’ National Executive Committees (NEC). National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande who led the delegation said the freedom of association as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees every Nigerian the freedom of choice in terms of which political party to join but the intention of the parliament to prescribe the modus operandi for political parties is an infringement on the right of Nigerians to freedom of choice. Akande who was represented by the National Secretary, Dr. Usman Bugaje noted that: “This freedom is part of the reason it is necessary for the various parties to evolve their own means and ways of operation-enshrined in their parties constitution. “Seeking to prescribe a uniform constitution for the parties, as the National Assembly has been doing in recent times by trying to make laws for the parties, therefore robs Nigerians of their freedom to choose which parties to belong to, and therefore is unconstitutional, null and void.” According to him, “It is not for the National Assembly or INEC to tell all parties to amend their constitutions and adopt the prescription for primaries. This to us is like prescribing one medicine for all ailments. “Talk about internal democracy, as a reason for regulating party primaries, by the PDP-led National Assembly, is a smokescreen, a self serving move. While the PDP may have a reason for doing that-to satisfy a faction-we at the CAN do not have such problems and should not be rail roaded into one a one-size-fits-all kind of arrangement. It is up to the parties to determine hoe their candidates will emerge” The party maintained that, “instead of the feeble defence offered by its authors, that it will strengthen internal democracy in the political parties, we say unequivocally that it can only succeed in turning the parties to political zombies. How can a zombie party thrive on internal democracy?” he asked. While supporting the position of the party, leader of ACN in the Senate, Senator Mamora said the ACN National Assembly caucus believed that the beauty of any law is its ability to stand the test of time and public scrutiny but the on going amendment lacks both and should be discountenanced. He averred that it will be wrong for the National Assembly to ignore the feelings of the electorates and enact a law that runs contrary to the provisions of the Constitution. Also in his remarks, leader of the party in the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamilah said even the judiciary does not interfere in the affairs of political parties but if “the National Assembly decides to get involved in decision making on how parties should be run, such a action would impede on the course of natural justice.” The ACN delegation was made up national executive members and other top members including former Anambra State governor, Dr. Chris Ngige, National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed and a host of others.