National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) has staged a peaceful protest against the exclusion of political appointees in the electioneering process.
The youths group led by Comrade Solomon Adodo, in a letter to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Monday argued that over 75 percent of those affected under the extant Electoral Amendment Act are youths who are appointees of Local Government Chairmen, Governors, the President and legislators.
The group further argued that the measure would lead to the total disenfranchisement of over 70 percent of potential candidates who are mainly youths. The group contended that if the Electoral Act is allowed to stand, it will be tantamount to an abuse of the not too young to run Act as most youths will automatically be disqualified.
The group called on both Chambers of the National Assembly to immediately expedite actions to expunge the said Section 84(12) within the next 48 hours.
The group noted that “Since the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria already provides that appointed public officers could stay in office up to 30 days before the elections in which they are candidates in, it therefore makes the Electoral Act which provides for them to resign 180 days before such elections, to be inconsistent with the Constitution.
“It negates the powers and discretion of the appointing officers who should determine whether the involvement of such public officers is inimical to the objectives for which they are appointed.”
On the issue of political appointees participating as delegates in Political Party Primaries, which the Electoral Act prohibits. It is the stand of the NYCN that it is also against the Constitution which allows all citizens to participate in the electoral processes (except those constitutionally barred from specific parts of those processes) Section 42 of the 199 Constitution is very clear on this.
They stressed that ” Moreover, the point in (3) above is a legal emasculation of participatory democracy, which cannot be allowed now that we are making democratic progress on many fronts still refer to Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“If there should be a law regulating citizens’ participation as Political Party Delegates, it should be left for Political Parties to handle internally. Section 84 (12) appears to be a targeted legislation, for the National Assembly to take it upon itself to legislate on what is ordinarily an internal Political Party matter.
“Very importantly, it is dishonourable for the National Assembly to make a volte face after agreeing with President Muhammadu Buhari on these Constitutional observations. ” Consequently, in the light of the fact that this particular clause 84(12) is totally inconsistent with the Constitution, it will inevitably lead to multiple litigations which will not be good for our nascent democracy.”