The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said that the shift in the dates of the elections announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must be the last, stressing that labour would resist any further postponement of the elections from the re-scheduled dates.
The labour development comes as Akin Ambode and Jimi Agbaje, the governorship candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos, respectively, have signed a non-violence deal ahead of the April 11 polls. The signing of the pact should expectedly tone down the violent messages that have been emanating from the camps since the campaign began.
The supporters of the two parties have clashed a number of times. The peace accord was signed at the official residence of Jeffrey Hawkins, the United States consul-general in Lagos in the presence of the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, James F. Entwistle, as well as Nigerian religious leaders.
Each of the candidates was made to sign a pledge that reads: “I (Akinwunmi Ambode, Jimi Agbaje), do hereby pledge on behalf of myself and my supporters, to promote peaceful participation in the 2015 election and beyond. I do further pledge to accept the outcome of the Lagos State election, whatever it may be, and to seek redress for any perceived injustice through legal and legitimate channels.”
Others signatories were Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos; Imam Abdulrahman Ahmad, national missioner of Ansar-ud-Deen Society of Nigeria; Pastor Paul Adefarasin, senior pastor and prelate of House on the Rock, and Sheikh Abdurrahman Adangba, national missioner of Fatil-ul-Qareeb Islamic Society.
Peter Ozo-Eson, the general secretary of the NLC who stated labour’s position in a statement, said, “We take very seriously the issue of security of Nigeria and Nigerians and we will not for anything advocate putting on the line their safety. However, neither Boko Haram nor the general elections were sprung on us. We knew about both all along and we ought to have had contingency plans. This is why we find bogus, the excuse of insecurity. Now that INEC has been made to do the deed, we urge that it be the only postponement.”
The congress said the government should do all that is necessary to win and sustain the confidence of both Nigerians and the international community on the issue of elections, for therein lies the crux of democracy.