The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) yesterday spoke in favour of the National Assembly for reordering the 2019 general elections.
It insisted that the presidential election should come last to save the country from plunging into a one party state and deepen it democracy.
In its reaction to the controversy surrounding the National Assembly’s reordering of elections ahead of the 2019 polls, the CNPP explained that the proposal by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would have resulted in a situation where the party that wins the Presidential election would sweeping the polls at all levels.
The CNPP based its argument on the history of elections in the country.In a statement issued by its Secretary General, Willy Ezugwu, CNPP, also urged civil society organisations (CSOs) supporting INEC to have a rethink, as they were unwittingly aiding a rigging formula that would turn the country into a one party state.
Ezugwu said: “If INEC wants to conduct free, fair and credible elections in the country devoid of rigging, it should listen to the voice of the Nigerian representatives, who are working hard to reduce bandwagon effects in voting.
“Members of the National Assembly are not only experienced politicians but major stakeholders in the outcome of the elections.
“You don’t put in place an electoral process in place with one man in mind because if another person comes in, the process will be inherited by the person.
“The process should be to do the right thing and follow the path that can deepen democracy rather than a party that will ultimately destroy all democratic tenets we have all labour to build.
“For us, the reordered election is the best thing the current National Assembly has done for Nigeria and democracy. And anyone against it hates democracy”.
Ezugwu further argued that the issue was not about President Muhammadu Buhari’s reelection bid but about a country after President Buhari.
The CNPP tasked INEC on free, fair and credible elections that will surpass the legacy left behind by the immediate past leadership of the commission.
It urged politicians to work together to save the nation’s democracy and unite the county rather than work for selfish purposes capable of destroying it.
Meanwhile, the Senate and the House of Representatives had in February 2018 reordered the 2019 general elections timetable released by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The order of elections was first reordered by the House of Representatives on January 24, 2018, by amending Section 25 of the Principal Act and substituted it with a new section 25 (1), stating that the elections will be held in the following order: (a) National Assembly election (b) States Houses of Assembly and Governorship elections (c) Presidential election.
The National Assembly also amended section 87 by adding a new section 87 (11) with the provision: “Time for primaries of political parties.
“The primaries of political parties shall follow the following sequence (i) State Houses of Assembly (ii) National Assembly (iii) Governorship and (iv) President.”