Forty-five National Chairmen of political parties in Nigeria have demanded the inclusion of funds for all political parties for citizen sensitization in the 2019 budget/supplementary budget request sent by President Muhammadu Buhari for 2019 election.
TheNewsGuru (TNG) reports the 45 National Chairmen of political parties in the country made the request when they paid a solidarity visit to Senate President Bukola Saraki.
“We wish to demand for inclusion in the 2019 budget/supplementary budget request sent by the Presidency for 2019 election for funds for all political parties for citizen sensitization,” the 45 National Chairmen told the Senate President.
The 45 National Chairmen condemned the siege on the residences of the principal officers of the National Assembly, the siege on the National Assembly, and the siege on the Benue State House of Assembly.
“It is with a deep sense of responsibility and patriotism that we have come here to visit you today.
“We join millions of Nigerian to express solidarity with the leadership of the National Assembly in these trying times in our history.
“As national leaders of political parties, we cannot sit by and watch our country slide into the Hobbesian state of anarchy, where life has become short, brutish and lawless.
“Nigeria is gradually turning into a failed state and all the institutions of state have been compromised and desecrated. This is the time to rise in defence of democratic values and nationhood.
“We unequivocally condemn the use of agencies of state: Nigeria Police, DSS, EFCC, to clamp down on the opposition and stifle democracy as demonstrated in the siege on the residences of the principal officers of the National Assembly, the siege on the National Assembly, and the siege on the Benue State House of Assembly.
“Today, our country is facing the challenges of pervasive insecurity, massive joblessness and unemployment, ethnic irredentism and disunity.
“We enjoin the National Assembly to use its constitutionally-guaranteed powers to legislate to arrest the slide; to give the country a new direction and create hope for our country men and women.
“We note that the courts have rejected attempts by the Accord Party to undermine the constitutional powers of NASS to determine sequence of elections. We, majority of the political parties dissociate ourselves from that inglorious attempt.
“We wish to demand for inclusion in the 2019 budget/supplementary budget request sent by the Presidency for 2019 election for funds for all political parties for citizen sensitization,” the National Chairmen stated.
In his response, Saraki expressed pleasure on behalf of the National Assembly, and thanked the 45 National Chairmen for the solidarity message.
“Truly, we appreciate it as it encourages us further to do what we have to do to defend the democracy of our great country. Our hearts go out to all Nigerians from all aspects of life that have stood, called to support us here at the National Assembly.
“We will continue to defend it and ensure that the respect for the rule of law and due process will always be what we see in our dear country.
“This country has made a lot of achievements in the area of democracy, and we will stand for it to be set back in any manner at all.
“Let me also use this opportunity to appreciate all political parties from different sides of the divide here; you have come together in defence of democracy in Nigeria.
“I appreciate that and I appreciate your responsibility and your patriotism and I will continue to assure you that this Senate will work closely with you in this regard.
“It is our hope that those anti-democratic forces would have learnt their lessons from the last three days and listen to the voice of Nigerians; men, women, boys & girls all across the country who have said firmly that we do not support unconstitutional, anti-democratic actions.
“That voice is loud and clear and I believe we must all respect that and I expect that as we respect all the Nigerians, those who have made sacrifices for us to be here some have made the ultimate sacrifice, and we must respect that and ensure that Nigeria is a country that everyone around the world looks up to. We should be a shining star, an example of a democratic nation.
“We should not allow anything to get in the way of the image of this great country that we have all worked so hard to build.
“We also hope that very soon, the government will quickly put in place the machinery to start the investigation of what really happened, because we are hearing too many fairy-tales of the reasons for what happened.
“I think it’s time for us to see the hard facts and I think that investigative panel should be commissioned soon and is allowed to start work, so that this kind of thing will not happen in the future.
“Let me also assure you that the new Electoral Amendment Bill that we have sent to Mr. President will go a long way to address some of the issues of more credible elections in that it will also help in improving the standard to ensure that our electoral process is among the most transparent in the world. Let me also take note of your suggestion and contribution of having a liaison officer to work with us.
“We appreciate that, and we will work closely with you to look at the areas and bills that will also improve the whole electoral process. It is very, very important that we continue to strengthen the electoral process and our politics in the country.
“It is important to also ensure that we continue to serve our people better, because in the end, all that we are doing; from political parties to electoral processes is to provide a means that we can better represent and ensure that the lives of our people are much better.
“We should not lose focus of this amidst all these distractions. I want to assure those in the Senate, my colleagues and the National Assembly in general, that our eyes are still on the goal of how to make life better for Nigerians and we will not be distracted by these actions that are not in the interest of Nigerians.
“Once again, thank you for coming and we will continue to work closely with you during the next few months — which are very critical months and we hope that the events that have happened .will ensure that we will never see where a security agency of government that are meant to be impartial are used in order to try as much as possible to stifle the opposition.
“This is because any democratic society must have both those who speak for and those who speak against and that is how our society will grow and mature in the interest of our people.
“Thank you for this courageous move by being here, for speaking and letting your voices be heard and I am sure that Nigerians will remember your role as well in our effort to defend democracy in our country,” Saraki stated.