The Joint Caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the National Assembly, yesterday threw its weight behind the resolutions of the Southern Governors’ Forum (SGF) on sundry national issues, including the amendment of the Electoral Act, Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), State Police and the ban on open grazing across Southern Nigeria.
The parliamentary caucus, made up of all members of the PDP in the Senate and House of Representatives, said it decided to endorse the decisions of the Southern governors because of the relevance of their resolutions to the political and security situation in the country. Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe, who addressed newsmen on behalf of the Caucus, said the PDP lawmakers were vehemently opposed to the clandestine moves by some anti- democratic forces to manipulate and alter the Electoral Act to remove the clause pertaining to electronic transmission of election results from the law. Abaribe, flanked by his colleagues from both chambers of the parliament, said “furtive venture” to tamper with a critical component of transparency and credibility of the electoral process was an unpatriotic and mischievous attempt to subvert the democratic process, institutionalize rigging and frustrate the genuine efforts being made to conduct credible elections in the country.
He said that electronic transmission of results was the only way to eliminate malpractices and manipulations associated with manual collation of results, including alteration, switching and disappearance of election materials while on transit to various collation centres. Abaribe disclosed that the Joint PDP Caucus was already taking very strong and uncompromising steps to ensure that the provision guaranteeing the electronic transmission of result was not tampered with in any form whatsoever in the process of passing the electoral law.
On security, the Caucus reaffirmed its support for the establishment of state police, the ban on open grazing by September 1, 2021 as well as other measures adopted by the governors to ensure the security of lives and property, including those curtailing unauthorized movements and occupation of forests in the respective states. “We also affirm the demands by state governors, that as Chief Security Officers in the states, they must be duly informed before any security institution undertakes any operation in their states.
“The Joint PDP Caucus also lends full support to the demand by our governors that deductions from the Federation Account for the Nigeria Police Security Trust Fund should be distributed among the states and Federal Government to combat security challenges. “These resolutions by the governors, regarding security do not offend but rather reinforce genuine efforts towards guaranteeing adequate security of lives and property given the current situation in our country as a federation,” Abaribe said. The minority Caucus urged all governors, lawmakers and critical stakeholders from other regions to support what they described as the patriotic initiatives of the Southern Governors’ Forum, in the interest of security of lives and property in the country.