NATIONAL leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) have asked President Goodluck Jonathan to do all that is legal to ensure that the July 14 governorship election in Edo State is free and fair.
NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar, who led workers to a second rally for Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s re-election bid at the weekend, said the governor needed another term to complete the projects he initiated.
He said the election would determine whether Jonathan was ready for the transformation of the country.
At a rally organised by the Youth Wing of NLC in Benin City, Omar said the Labour movement was proud of Oshiomhole’s performance in three-and-a-half-years in the Government House.
Oshiomhole at the event asked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Maj.-Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (rtd), to join him on a walk round the markets in Benin City to test their popularity with the electorate.
Omar said: “We will rally round Oshiomhole because he is not an ordinary politician who diverts the money of the state for personal reasons but rather, he has proved that union leaders can be good administrators. We have every right to rally round him because he has not failed us, we will match our words with action.”
Similarly, President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Peter Esele, said the people want continuity of progress, which informed their support for Oshiomhole.
“Oshiomhole is excellent. If he has delivered, why do you want somebody else?” he asked the crowd amidst heavy downpour.
ACN, in a statement yesterday, warned that any attempt to rig the election would “trigger a chain of cataclysmic reactions, the end of which no one can predict.”
Its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who issued the statement, said the warning became necessary in view of the desperation of the PDP to capture Edo State at all cost.
Mohammed said events leading to the election had shown that the PDP was bent on creating an atmosphere that would be hostile to the holding of free, fair and transparent polls.
ACN, therefore, called on its members and supporters in the state to resist any attempt by the PDP to rig the polls, saying they must not only turn out en masse to vote for
Oshiomhole on the basis of his performance in office, but also stay behind until the votes had been counted and the result announced, contrary to the “vote-and-go” rigging strategy of the PDP.
“In the years since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999, the PDP has evolved from bare-faced rigging on election day to a new system in which the ruling party, in collusion with malleable and unpatriotic security agencies, makes free and fair elections impossible by intimidating the opposition and instigating violence ahead of voting, thus paving the way for the imposition of a ‘curfew’ on election day that will ensure voters only
come out to vote and return home, handing the PDP and its cohorts in INEC and security agencies a carte blanche to determine the outcome of the voting.”