THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday congratulated Prof Charles Soludo for emerging as victorious at last weekend’s governorship election in Anambra State.

Wabba, NLC President

In a press release signed by its President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the NLC said “Soludo’s victory at the poll is certainly a testament to the confidence he enjoys from majority of Anambrarians,”

Adding that Soludo’ victory “is the hallmark and beauty of democracy,” Comrade Wabba also said “[t]here is no doubt that the consummation of the November 6, governorship election in Anambra State was fraught with anxious moments as many Nigerians followed the process with bated breath.”

The press release, entitled: “THE NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS CONGRATULATES ANAMBRA STATE GOVERNOR-ELECT, PROF. CHARLES CHUKWUMA SOLUDO, COMMENDS INEC AND THE PEOPLE OF ANAMBRA,” reads:

“The Nigeria Labour Congress wishes to congratulate the Governor-Elect in Anambra State, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, for his emergence as the winner of the November 6, 2021 governorship election in Anambra State. Professor Soludo’s victory at the poll is certainly a testament to the confidence he enjoys from majority of Anambrarians. This is the hallmark and beauty of democracy.

“There is no doubt that the consummation of the November 6, governorship election in Anambra State was fraught with anxious moments as many Nigerians followed the process with bated breath. The thuds of armoured tanks and the echoes of gunshots that trailed the campaign train turned the once peaceful state into a theatre of battles. The dicey security situation was not helped with the agitations of the IPOB especially the sit-at-home order which hung a huge blanket of uncertainty over the November 6, 2021 election.

“A few days to the election, there were calls from some quarters for the Anambra governorship polls to be postponed. It is important to note and commend the resoluteness of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which insisted that the governorship election in Anambra State must go on. The INEC went on to pledge its commitment to a transparent electioneering process in Anambra State. The commitment by INEC was also backed by the resolve of President Muhammadu Buhari to deploy adequate security to ensure that nothing scuttled the electoral process in Anambra State.

“We commend the resolve of Anambra people to put the enemies of democracy to shame. Many voters in the state dared the pre-Election Day violence and showed up on Election Day to cast their ballot. With less than 10% turnout of registered voters in Anambra State, there are huge concerns for popular democracy. Yet, given the dare-devil desperation invested in the run-up to the election, it is a relief to many that the election eventually took place and a winner emerged.

“The announcement of the final results from the Anambra gubernatorial elections coincided with the passing of the harmonized version of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021 by the Senate and the House of Representatives. We commend the leadership of the National Assembly for prioritizing some of the demands made by the Nigerian people especially the NLC.

“Some of the progressive amendments passed by the National Assembly include the approval for increased deployment of technology in Nigeria’s elections especially the adoption of electronic transmission of election results, increased powers to INEC to decide procedures for elections and the provision for direct primaries for the conduct of internal political parties’ elections in Nigeria.

“We believe that hopes for credible elections in Nigeria is [sic] largely predicated on an INEC that is adequately empowered as an independent and unbiased umpire. We hope that the recent improvements in the Electoral Act would help fix some of the deficits experienced during the just concluded Anambra State governorship election especially the use of violence and low voter turnout.

“Consistent with workers’ struggle for clean and credible elections in Nigeria especially given investments by Labour that yielded the foundational reforms of 2007-2011 through the Uwais Electoral Reform Committee, we still call for deeper reforms to democratize the appointment of the leadership of INEC, establish an Electoral Offences Commission and accommodate Proportional Representation in Nigeria’s Constitution and electoral law. To us, these reforms represent a more sustainable recipe for a deepened political process and value-laden democratic outcomes in Nigeria.”

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