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Published On: Mon, Nov 10th, 2014

Senators Get Knocks Over Automatic Ticket

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National President of The National Democratic Front (NDF), Comrade Philip Agbese, has described giving automatic ticket as demanded recently by some persons to anyone at this stage of our democracy as a mockery and that it is anarchist in nature and anti-democratic by any standard. He said it is subversion of due process and an assault on the reasoning and sensibility of party men and women who have helped to build their platforms as veritable tools for winning electoral contest.  Agbese made this known on Monday at a media briefing in conjunction with 22 other civil societies in attendance in Abuja.

Agbese said “The civil society has watched with bewilderment and great alarm the political brigandage that has invaded the polity in the name of automatic tickets that lawmakers are asking for. Naturally, NDF has in the past advocated a National Assembly that is populated with experienced lawmakers, who can bring the benefits of the long years they have been in the parliament to bear on the quality of legislation and oversight that they give the nation”.
He stressed “the lawmakers will recant at some point or distance themselves from this anti-people demand but they have tenaciously pursued this demand and have even added the element of blackmail ostensibly to arm-twist the President. This is enough confirmation that the demand by the lawmakers is not hearsay thereby meriting a timely response from all right thinking Nigerians”.

He said the threat to shut down the National Assembly is self-serving and a clear demonstration that these characters have used the last few years in the parliament to pursue their selfish interests and not the collective wellbeing of the country they were elected to serve.

“Let us at this point stress that anyone saying the Senators’ uncharitable  demand for automatic tickets is a PDP affair is either ignorant of the larger consequences or is deliberately being mischievous. The National Assembly is not PDP property, it works for all Nigerians.
“Shutting it down will hamstring the government and cripple the economy for everyone and not just PDP or other political parties’ members.
“We make bold to call on Mr President not to allow himself to be railroaded into such inimical and anti-people sojourn that will not only jeopardise his party’s fortune at the polls but will also stunt Nigeria’s democracy.
He added “If these lawmakers had worked for the interest of their constituencies in the first instance there would have been no need to be blackmailing the country in their quest for automatic tickets. They are in the situation they found themselves today because they frittered way the goodwill that brought them into office.

It is on this note that we urge President Jonathan not hold further talks related to handing out automatic party tickets to members of the National Assembly under whatever guise. If any such deal has been reached clandestinely, he has the backing of Nigerians to disregard same in its entirety since it amounts to a conspiracy to short change the people. Giving automatic party tickets, especially to non performing politicians, is symptomatic of a one party police state where the will, aspirations and desires of the people have no place. Is this the future President Jonathan wants to be credited with creating? He said.
Agese advice political parties to allow internal democracy to be at play in the way candidates emerge from primaries. While they are free to receive PDP members that will decamp in this automatic ticket madness is allowed, they must however strengthen their internal processes to ensure that primaries remain the veritable platform for selection of candidates.

“We are calling on Nigerians to condemn the lawmakers’ demand for the robbery it amounted to. Nigerians must act to put a stop to this bold faced irresponsibility by people who ordinarily are expected to be distinguished and honourable. They must be made to realise that there are implications for threatening to unleash suffering on the populace. The message must be clear and unequivocal.
It is on this note that we call on CSOs, CBOs, pro-democracy organisations and other Nigerians who are committed to sustaining our democracy to come out en masse to demonstrate their displeasure over the ceding of automatic tickets to these highly placed Nigerians without recourse to the tenets of democracy’ he said.

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