Organised labour, yesterday, tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to ensure votes count and the process is devoid of violence across states.

It also vowed to mobilse members against political parties and candidates with anti-labour policies during the 2023 polls.“It is helpful that the 2022 Electoral Act allows INEC to fully deploy electronic voting systems for future elections. We hope this will help us achieve transparent elections in 2023. We urge INEC and security agencies to stamp out the menace of vote-buying and electoral violence during the 2023 polls. INEC should also perfect the Bi-modal Voter Accreditation System to drastically reduce resort to incidence forms and disenfranchisement of eligible voters.”

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba and his counterpart in the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Quadri Olaleye, stated this in a joint address to mark the 2022 May Day celebration at Eagles Square in Abuja. The theme was “Labour, politics and the quest for good governance and development in Nigeria.”

Speaking to government officials led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, the unions said they were  facilitating the emergence of a progressive pro-Nigerian workers’ political coalition. “If your political party is truly progressive and worker-friendly, you should be discussing with us.”

The unions said they would mobilise over 16 million block votes of Nigerian workers, pensioners, their families and other circles of influence for political parties and candidates that assure them that the dreams of Nigerian workers and people would no longer be treated as governance addendum or objects to be trampled.

While urging the Federal Government to take advantage of the five-year review window provided in the Electricity Sector Privatisation Reform Act to scrap and reverse the privatisation of the electricity sector, the unions threatened to ground government activities in Taraba, Cross River and Zamfara states for non-payment of national minimum wage.

Meanwhile, INEC has assured that it would spare no effort in ensuring that elections it conducts continue to get better, freer, fairer, more credible and more inclusive.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the pledge in a message to celebrate Nigerian workers on the occasion of 2022 International Workers’ Day, yesterday in Abuja.

He said Nigerian workers had contributed immensely and tirelessly to the country’s stability and economic development over the years in spite of the myriad of challenges.

He said the commission appreciated the support and understanding it had received and continued to receive from workers as it implements reforms of the electoral system.

According to him, they include the expansion of voter access to polling units, continuous voter registration, deployment of appropriate technology, conduct of numerous off-cycle elections, by-elections and ongoing preparations for the 2023 general elections

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