The chairman of Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Akwa Ibom State Branch and publisher of Radar Newspaper, Otuekong Franklyn Isong, has called on the National Assembly to use two-thirds majority of its members to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill in line with Section 58(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), saying it would give Nigerians a better and improved Electoral system in 2019.
He made the assertion yesterday, Wednesday, December 12, 2018, when the APC House of Assembly candidate for Urue Offong/Oruko and former Editor of Radar Newspaper, Barr Omen Bassey, paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Uyo.
He called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct free, fair and credible elections in 2019, condemning electoral violence, thuggery and other acts capable of hindering smooth conduct of the polls.
He called on security agencies in the state to be unbiased, neutral, non-partisan and be fair to all political parties, as well as, ensure effective policing of election materials, INEC personnel and Nigerians before, during and after the 2019 elections in the state.
The CLO Chairman advocated for political debates, noting that it would afford all political parties’ aspirants opportunity to interact with the electorate before the polls.
He appealed to President Buhari to forward the new minimum wage bill as approved by the tripartite committee to the National Assembly without further delay so that Nigerian workers can have a better living wage.
He welcomed Omen Bassey and his team to his office and congratulated Omen Bassey on his emergence as the APC Assembly’s candidate for Urue Offong/Oruko state constituency.
He advised him to campaign on issues and carry all stakeholders in his constituency along in the cause of his electioneering campaign.
He stated that CLO as a non-partisan and non- political human rights cum pro-democracy organisation is working out modalities to monitor the processes leading to the 2019 elections in partnership with the relevant authorities in the country to ensure that the best electoral system is achieved in 2019.
The newspaper publisher further advised journalists and online bloggers to always cross check information before publishing. He opined that fake news and malicious publication can set the state and country ablaze. He noted that the freedom of press is not without obligations.
Speaking earlier, Barr Omen Bassey said he came to present himself as a former staff of Radar newspaper who has excelled politically, to his former boss (Franklyn Isong) whom he had worked under and under studied over the years while practicing as a journalist in the state.
He thanked Franklyn Isong for giving him the opportunity and platform to expose his talents to the world thus contributing to development of the society and deepening democracy in the country.
Omen Bassey attributed his emergence as the 2019 House of Assembly candidate of APC to God and solicited for the support of the newspaper and publisher (Franklyn Isong) for his political party’s candidates for the 2019 elections starting from himself (Bassey), the House of Representatives candidates, senatorial candidates, governorship candidate (Nsima Ekere); and presidential candidate, (Muhammadu Buhari).
Radar Newspaper staff who witnessed the occasion were; Ememobong Okon, Managing Editor; Emmanuel Udoatta, Assistant News Editor; Manti Ikpeme, Reporter.
By Manti Ikpeme