Buhari’s statement on ballot box snatching is intended to deter trouble makers —NLC

The Nigeria Labour Congress says President Muhammadu Buhari ’ s comment on dealing “ ruthlessly” with ballot snatchers or arsonists in upcoming elections is not a license to kill .

President of the Congress, Mr. Ayuba Wabba , stated this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja .

According to Wabba , the President ’ s instruction to security agents to deal summarily with ballot snatchers or arsonists is not a license to kill . It is intended to deter trouble makers .

“We insist on strong institutions for the sustenance of our democracy , ’’ he said .

Wabba, however, called on Nigerians to avoid violence during the presidential and National Assembly elections across the country on Saturday .

He said that as Nigerians went to the polls , they must exhibit the finest traditions , highest values , utmost sense of responsibility and unflagging patriotism in them.

“ The respectability we crave in other lands depend not on how many barrels of crude oil we export in a day or how populous we are or how many billions of dollars we illegally siphon outside the country .

“ It is on the choice we make and how we make that choice – cast our vote wisely or sell it for pittance ; cause violence or exhibit decorum; levy war or wage peace ; eschew egotism or elevate it . ’’

The labour leader noted that all candidates in the polls had the potential to win or to lose , but that the decision rested not with the candidates but the electorate .

He said that it was , therefore , infantile or naive for some candidates to assume that they could not lose .

The moment of truth has come, and we must of necessity perform our civic duty in fulfilment of our beliefs or in betrayal of them .

“Our conduct will reveal our true identity , betray our intentions and test our claim to nationhood .

“ We, therefore, challenge you the candidates , politicians , supporters , security personnel and INEC to be of utmost good behaviour and ethical standard .

“ You are also to conduct yourselves with civility , humility , truth and abide by the rule of law, ’’ Wabba said .

He also called on Nigerians to remember the oft – rehashed phrase , that the victory or loss of any candidate was not worth the blood of any Nigerian , not even the blood of a chicken .

He said that people should remember that nobody’ s ambition was worth a square millimetre of Nigeria ’ s territory , adding “ we similarly want to inform all and sundry that we cannot hold political offices without peace or country.

“ We appeal to all to note that when we sponsor or stoke violence we cannot predict its course or end . We should therefore do all that is necessary to prevent it .

“ We urge all Nigerians to note that we are going to the poll and not war , and they should accordingly tone down their rhetoric or blood pressure .

“ In this contest , there must be losers and winners , and we do not need to rig to win or snatch ballot boxes or cause mayhem to be reckoned with.

“ As those things do not project our strength or power but primitivism , primordial mentality and our weakness , ’’ he said .

Wabba urged INEC to be fair , impartial and just, to all parties or contestants, saying that the onus rested on it to conduct free , fair and credible elections and earn the confidence of the electorate .

He called on the electorate to vote according to their consciences and beliefs and not according to primordial or sectarian sentiments or emergency seductions .

“ We at the Nigerian Labour Congress believe that the citizens cannot complain afterward if they do not vote or vote wrongly .

“ In the light of this , we urge you not to sell your vote or allow yourself to be used to foment trouble.

“ We similarly urge agents not to buy votes , for it shows your candidate is neither deserving of the votes nor worthy of leadership that he or she seeks . We insist , cause no trouble .

“ Take evidence and use established channels of communication , ’’ he said .

The labour leader commended accredited observers for the elections for their patience and tenacity of purpose , and urged them to continue to be vigilant and remain faithful to their role in the process .

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