The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has reacted to the election of Senator Ahmed Lawan and Ovie Omo-Agege as the Senate President and Deputy Senate President respectively.
DAILY POST reported on Tuesday that while Lawan defeated Senator Ali Ndume to emerge as President of the Ninth Assembly, Omo-Agege floored immediate past Deputy Senate President, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu, to become the DSP.
HURIWA, in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, described the election as free and fair.
The statement pointed out that the election of Senator Ahmed Lawan by the newly inaugurated Senate as Senate President was relatively and comparatively free, fair, transparent, as it endorsed the process, stressing that Lawan’s manifest zeal and relentless campaign seem to have paid off with a clear majority of over 76 senators voting for him.
The rights group said, “What this victory which is overwhelming what it means is that his mandate is legitimate, contrary to the widely speculated insinuations that he may have peremptorily bought the votes prior to the actual conduct of the election inside and within the precincts of the hallowed red chamber of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Also, his election may have confirmed the widely circulated and anticipated aspiration of the leadership of two leading political parties’ for party supremacy to reign.
“It is victory for party supremacy and this is entirely in compliance with best global practices. Infact in Great Britain Parties with majority usually provides the Premier or Prime minister for the United Kingdom Just as ranking members of the parliament in the USA usually head the political party in parliament.
“However, we strongly commend Senator Ali Ndume for being a man, for being a champion of democracy, for his persistent resistance of executive suppression and imposition and for sticking out his neck to ensure that the genuine principle of democracy which is expressed in the popular saying that in democracy it is ‘one man, one vote’ took the center stage. Although he came a distant second but he is indeed the symbol of democracy and freedoms.
“Ali Ndume should be celebrated as a national hero. Ali Ndume from this day forward has become a national icon of democracy because he said ‘NO’ to authoritarianism and totalitarianism.
“Ndume said NO to the desire of the reactionary elements in the polity to destroy the essence of democratial choice which is embedded within the context of voluntary choice and rational decision of the voters to cast their vote for the candidates of their choice and not because of fear and or expectation of pecuniary settlement.
“We call on all patriots, statesmen and compatriots to so honor senator Ali Ndume and to stand by him and with him, and to speak out in the event that there could be an attempt from the vindictive executive who may come after him for standing up to defend the cause of what he believes in.
“Democracy will die in Nigeria if Senator Ali Ndume is witch hunted because of his heroic role today. Our best advice to the president of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari is to stick to the constitutional norms and pristine provision that guarantees separation of power encompassed in sections 4, 5 and 6 of the 1999 constitution.
“The people of Nigeria must be vigilant to safeguard democracy at this trying time specifically because of the fact that the newly elected Senate president Senator Ahmed Lawan had disclosed to HURIWA that actually he is President Muhammadu Buhari’s boy but he quickly stated that he will not accept to make the National Assembly a rubber-stamped legislature.
“So we will hold him to his commitments to defend the Nigeria constitution and not to undermine the principles of separation of power or to coordinate the distortion of constitutionally guaranteed tenure limitation for the executive arm of government.
“In effect, Senator Ahmed Lawan made a commitment not to allow any third term gambit by president Muhammadu Buhari because Nigeria will collapse the day this Senate will attempt to undermine the tenure limitation as provided for by the constitution of Nigeria which stipulates 2 terms of 4 years each and no more. Nigerians must stay awake!”