45 political parties have condemned the Tuesday invasion of the National Assembly by operatives of the Department of Security Services (DSS).
Speaking at a meeting with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Thursday, National Chairman, United Democratic Party and National Secretary, Coalition for New Nigeria (CNN), Godson Okoye said the “solidarity visit” was to express their “outrage and total disappointment over the events in the past few days,” emphasising that “August 7 will go down in history as a very terrible day for those that hate democracy and for those that hate Nigeria.”
The 45 political parties were led by the National Chairman, National Unity Party, Chief Perry Opara, who spoke on behalf of their behalf.
Opara, in his speech, described the members of the National Assembly as “true heroes of democracy,” stating that “as national leaders of political parties, we cannot sit by and watch our country slide into a state of anarchy.”
He continued: “Nigeria is gradually turning into a failed state. This is the time to rise for democratic values. Today, our democracy is facing the dangers of pervasive insecurity, massive joblessness, unemployment, and disunity. We enjoin the National Assembly to use its constitutionally guaranteed powers to legislate to give the country a new direction and create hope for our country men and women.”
The parties demanded “inclusion in the 2019 budget and supplementary budget request by the presidency for the 2019 elections for funds for all political parties for citizen sensitisation, so that the usual voter apathy witnessed in previous elections will not be experienced in 2019.
“We also passionately request that you approve a representative for the political parties to act as a liaison officer between the National Assembly and political parties, who shall monitor bills before the National Assembly on behalf of political parties. The representative will also offer and convey our suggestions on how the parliament and the law making process can be further strengthened for the good of the people and the political parties.”
The nominated representative, Honourable Jeff Ojinaka, “will be on pro bono service as part of the contribution to ensure productive relationship between political parties and the legislature.”
Saraki, in his response, thanked the political parties, as well as Nigerians, for supporting the National Assembly. He also appreciated their responsibility and patriotism, stating that “It is our hope that those anti-democratic forces have learnt a lesson in the past few days to listen to the voice of Nigerians, who have said firmly that ‘we do not support unconstitutional, undemocratic actions.’ That voice is loud and clear and we must all respect that.”