By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Rising from a a three days stakeholders consultative tour of the Northern-East Zone, the Northern Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to transmit results of subsequent elections electronically.
In a statement signed by its National President, Comrade Eliot Afiyo, dated July 15, 2021 and made available to our correspondent, the group also viewed the Lagos declaration by the Southern Governors demanding for a Southern President in 2023 as a deliberate and intentional scheming to project the political interest of a few individuals against the collective National interest.
“The NYLF commends the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) for the introduction of electronic transmission of election results in Ondo and Edo States Governorship elections which gives credibility to the process and eliminated ballot box snatching, falsification of results and other election violence.
“NYLF is of the opinion that this process should not only continue but also be maintained and sustained in all the future elections,” it said.
They added that they are also of the opinion that electronic voting no matter how good or necessary it seems to be, should not be introduced for now because of the literacy ratio in the country especially in the North.
“To this end, we call on the National Assembly to include electronic transmission of election result but discard the electronic voting in the Amended Electoral Act,” it advised.
On the Southern Governors demand for a Southern President in 2023, they said, “We viewed the Lagos declaration by the Southern Governors demanding for a Southern President in 2023 as a deliberate and intentional scheming to project the political interest of a few individuals against the collective National interest which has exposed the political inexperience and infancy of the Governors. Going by their declaration, it is now an established truth that the Southern Governors lack political mastery and planning.
“The implication of this declaration tends to tell the Northerners that the 2023 Presidential election would be based on North versus South instead of political parties,” the group stressed.
They averred that the declaration is provocative, insensitive, offensive, challenging and a political war which must be given thorough and intelligent consideration and action.
“No matter how important the 2023 Presidency is to the South, the declaration is indeed ill-timed, ill-advised, wrongly calculated and presented.
“We expect that the Governors should have decamped from their respective parties, form a new party or decamp to just one party or at best, lobbying their parties to zone the position to the South and ensure that their Aspirants emerge during primaries instead of such pronouncement.
“If at all the Southern Governors desire the presidency indeed, they should have summoned the courage to specify the geopolitical zone.
“It is a known fact that you don’t get power in a democratic system by coercion or intimidation but through negotiation and understanding,” the statement said..
They argued that the only zones that are qualified to demand for the 2023 presidency are North-East, South-East, South-South and possibly North-Central.
Pushing their position further, they recalled that the forum endorsed Senator Bala Mohammed as their Presidential Candidate for 2023 Presidency.
“In view of this we engaged Stakeholders from all the six geopolitical zones so as to have an all-encompassing following towards our goal.
“It is in the course of this engagement that it becomes absolutely necessary to address you today on some important National Issues,” they pointed out.
While dissecting the protest by Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Kaduna State, they disagreed with the approach adopted by the workers union.
“We observed with great dismay the last protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Kaduna State during which essential services and workers were shut down and forcefully pushed out.
“Doctors and Nurses were forced to leave their wards and Theatre, electricity cables and transformers were disconnected, water board and independent boreholes were attacked and disconnected, water hawkers popularly known as mai ruwa were threatened and intimidated, markets were closed and traders were chased out.
“All major’s roads were barricaded. Pharmacies, Patent Medical stores and chemists were closed. As a result, many lives were lost due to lack of medical attention,” they said.
The group revealed that NYLF lost 67 of its members due to the protest they described as “unconstitutional and selfish desire” by the NLC.
“These essential services are not allowed to be disrupted even during any war but NLC disrupted and even closed them.
“Kaduna State is presently engulfed with insecurity leading to killings, kidnapping and many more.
“The NLC led by Comrade Ayuba Wabba did not feel any concern that requires mass protest.
“The increase in pump price of petrol has become a recurrent decimal and electricity tariffs are being increase on quarterly basis yet, Comrade Wabba did not think of any minor protest at least to draw the attention of the people, but organised a mass protest because the Kaduna State Government wanted to downsize the workforce which constitute only 20% of the population.
“Even the minimum wage that was approved for the workers is not paid by many State Governors and NLC does not bother about it because NLC is yet to implement it for their workers,” they lamented.
They said that, “without mincing words that NYLF would not allow any form of protest by the NLC in Kaduna State and any other Northern State including Abuja against any other policy except on insecurity.
“We want to sound a note of warning to Comrade Wabba and his colleagues to stay clear from Kaduna State not to talk of organising a protest against the downsizing of the workforce. Consequently, our North-West Zonal Coordinator is hereby directed to implement this decision without any fear.
“We cannot afford to lose a life in Kaduna State again as a result of protest by the NLC.”
NYLF therefore, urged the Federal Government not to waste time in setting up a committee as it is not necessary.
“Doing so means acknowledging and recognizing ineptitude and sycophancy,” they advised.
They appreciated the efforts of the Security Agencies towards addressing the insecurity in the country and encouraged them to do more.
“Surely we will overcome someday somehow,” the statement concluded.