Political assassinations have become the major outcome of political violence in Nigeria to the extent that most individuals and groups see the adoption of assassination as necessary means to settle political scores.
To worsen the situation is the dismal effort of the security agencies in bringing culprits of such dastardly and gruesome killings to book. The police are quick to attribute such reported cases of political assassinations to armed robbers without any proper investigation and verifiable evidence.
However, the ineffectiveness of the national security agencies, the inter and intra-party squabbles and the bloody political war that loom in some states such as Plateau are posing great danger to Nigeria’s democracy.
Many Nigerians have viewed with sadness, the inclusive poor level of police investigation into the various cases of political assassinations that have remained mystery till date. The inability of security agencies to resolve such killings, many believe is likely to threaten not only the Nigeria’s democracy but the upcoming political and electoral activities preparatory to 2011 general elections.
An activist and co-ordinator, Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), Port Harcourt, Patrick Naagbanton said “This culture of impunity of political killings and assassinations will continue because there is no judicial repercussion against previous killings in Nigeria to deter or serve as a deterrent to other culprits”.
While many Nigerians believe that the end has come to political assassinations, another page on the trend was opened Monday, January 25, 2010 when a prominent politician and Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate in the 2007 Election, Otunba Dipo Dina was shot dead by yet unknown gunmen near Sango Ota in Ogun State.
The notable philanthropist and politician was shot by suspected assassins near the Covenant University on Ota Idi-Iroko Road while returning from Abeokuta Ogun State capital to his home in Lagos.
The late politician, it would be recalled was locked in a fierce legal battle with the incumbent Governor of Ogun State, Chief Gbenga Daniel of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the outcome of the conduct of the 2007 Governorship Election in that state.
The killing of the politician came one week after scores of people were injured as a result of clash between supporters of the Governor Gbenga Daniel and another opposition candidate in the 2007 Governorship Election in Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Ibadan Oyo State capital shortly after court of Appeal Ibadan adjournment in the Election Petition filed by Senator Amosun against the victory of Chief Gbenga Daniel.
Indeed there have been polarisation of PDP into factions in Ogun State with factional groups juxtaposing for political powers come 2011 in the State.
According to the Environmental activist, Patrick Naagbanton, the situation in Ogun State is all about political power tussles without necessarily the political class evaluating the impact of such power struggle and tussle on governance, security of lives and democracy.
“My understanding of the political power tussles in Ogun State is that, there is power tussle between the Governor Gbenga Daniel’s camp and the Obasanjo –Dimeji Bankole, House of Representatives, Speaker’s Camp. The latter camp is probably looking forward to using a compromise opposition candidate to deal with the former camp through the judicial process,” Naagbanton declared.
But even as Nigerians are asking who killed Dipo Dina, the police have attributed the killing to armed robbery attack.
According to the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Musa Daura, the killing of Otunba Dipo Dina has element of robbery and element of assassination, but Action Congress leadership in South West believes the killing rather has political undertone in view of Otunba Dipo Dina long political battles in Ogun State with the incumbent Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Lawyer and President West Africa Bar Association (WABA) Femi Falana has described Daura’s comments on the killing of Otunba Dipo Dina by armed robbers as very hasty and irresponsible.
Femi Falana said that “hasty conclusion made a huge mockery of investigation by the police.” Though the Federal Government had condemned the gruesome murder of the politician, it directed the police authorities in the country to fish out and prosecute those behind the killing.
Media aide to Acting President, Ima Niboro reportedly said “we are committed to ensuring that the days where our citizens whether prominent or not are usually felled by gunmen of whatever discipline are gone forever”, adding that the relevant intelligence agencies must rise to the occasion.
However, with this assassination, the list of unresolved murder in Nigeria has swelled. There is generally high level of insecurity in the land. What this portends for 2011 general election is the ink in the blood of most Nigerians. Most disturbing is that political assassination have become a regular feature in Nigeria.
The assassination of Dipo Dina and many unresolved killings in the country, to say the least, is not healthy. To fair-minded Nigerians, the nation is descending progressively into a land where anything can happen and there will be no accountability. Both the police and judiciary must rise to the challenge of the occasion. Since the record of previous mysterious assassinations, no court of law has ever convicted any culprit to serve as deterrent to any would-be hired assailant.
The security system in Nigeria should be improved upon to guarantee the sanctity of life. The political class should be re-oriented on issues, not self interest that can not promote healthy politicking.
According to Naabulobari Naazigha-Lue, State Chairman, committee for the Defence of Human Rights, frantic efforts should be made to get illegal weapons off the hands of certain political chieftains and thugs, while the police should intensify efforts at checking the movement of arms and ammunition as Nigeria moves towards 2011 polls.
2023 Guber Poll: Group Denies Rift Between Okowa, Ibori
A political pressure group, Movement for Stronger Delta (MSD) says there is no fight between former Governor James Ibori and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa over who governs the State in 2023.
The group in a statement by its National Coordinator, Dr. Festus BomoPatani, said: “The attention of the Movement for Stronger Delta, MSD, has been drawn to a recent publication by a pan-Delta online platform, titled: “DELTA 2023: Okowa, Ibori Fight Dirty Over Successor”, and posted on several social media groups and portals on Sunday, January 16, 2021.
“As a conscious and proactive Movement, determined and committed to ensuring a stronger, peaceful, and united Delta, in the run-up to the 2023 elections and beyond, it behoves us to set a few records straight, concerning this publication, as our own way of educating and informing Deltans with accurate, verifiable information on the true position of affairs and also protecting ourselves from misleading misinformation that is capable of heating up the polity and instigating unnecessary and avoidable conflicts, provocations and conflagrations in the State.
“The original story was first published with the title: “DELTA 2023: Okowa, Ibori face up on successor…•Gov takes charge but counter-attack looms”, written by Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South and Published in Saturday Vanguard, January 15, 2022.
“The online publication in question, copied the story verbatim, and then proceeded, for reasons best known to the publisher, to change the headline from the original, without informing the readers or even acknowledging the source and author of the original story; and this, from every professional standpoint, is a crass and brazen display of unethical journalism, bordering on plagiarism. Journalists must be cautioned to avoid sensationalism and inaccurate reportage intended to deliberately mislead the people, especially when they copy stories from other more seasoned and recognized mainstream publications.
“There is a fundamental headline difference between: “Face up” in the original story and “Fight Dirty” in the copied online version, which every journalist worth his salt, especially those knowledgeable enough in the basic use of the English language, which is the major tool and instrument of the profession, should know and apply in their proper contexts.
“For the avoidance of doubt and for the purposes of educating the Journalist against future ignorances: “face up: means ‘To confront or deal directly with someone or something previously avoided”, while “fight dirty means, ‘To use every possible way and especially the most treacherous way, to beat someone in a fight’
PGF-DG Tenders Resignation Letter
The in-fighting between the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) and All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee over the conduct of its national convention took a fresh twist on Monday following the resignation of the PGF Director-General, Salihu Lukman.
Lukman tendered his resignation letter to the Chairman of the Forum, Abubakar Bagudu, on Monday.
In the letter, he slammed the committee over its shoddy handling of matters relating to the national convention.
He had earlier accused the Mala-Buni committee of frustrating the party’s plan to hold the convention in February.
The APC leadership and the governors had agreed last year to conduct the convention next month in a bid to strengthen the party ahead of the 2023 general election.
The committee had been under tremendous pressure to step aside following the crises that trailed last year’s congresses where several factions conducted parallel congresses in defiance of the party’s directive.
The latest development has further confirmed that all may not be well with the ruling party with just 13 months to the next national election.
Lukman said: “Progressive Governors, like all party members, will not associate themselves with any act of disrespect to decisions validly taken in consultations with President Buhari.
“They will not take the responsibility for actions or inactions of the CECPC. Every responsibility of organising the convention is vested with the CECPC.”
Jega Tasks Buhari, NASS On New Electoral Law
Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has called on the National Assembly and President Muhammadu Buhari to pass the Electoral Bill so that INEC can hit the ground running towards the 2023 elections.
Jega stated this during a panel discussion at a town hall meeting organised by Yiaga Africa on the passage of the Electoral Amendment Bill on Monday.
Jega, who said it is difficult to conduct elections in Nigeria, added that since 2010, there has not been a significant improvement in the electoral framework.
He said while there could be some grey areas in the Electoral Bill that President MuhammaduBuhari declined assent to, there are other good things in the bill, arguing that the baby should not be thrown away with the bath water.
“I believe Nigeria should go into the next elections with a new law as there are many good things in the bill that will improve the integrity and conduct of elections.
“As I have said earlier, since 2010, we have not had significant improvement in the electoral framework.
“Speaking on direct and indirect primaries, some people believe that governors do influence the outcome of indirect primaries and some feel direct primaries is a way out of this, but the question is, how many parties have credible register of members?
“Give INEC the law to begin preparations for the 2023 elections. Any governor that manipulates direct primaries under this present condition will also have the capacity to manipulate indirect primaries.
“What we are saying is that you cannot throw the baby away with the bath water. Let’s think more carefully. The good things in the bill should be signed into law immediately so that INEC can start serious work for the 2023 elections.”
He lamented that the commission has a short period to put a lot of its mechanisms together for the conduct of the elections.
He called on the National Assembly to resolve all issues and give INEC the law within 10 days of resumption to enable it operate it seamlessly for the 2023 elections.
According to him, INEC made 31 recommendations to the amended 2010 Electoral Act to conduct credible elections, but NASS only approved 25 of the recommendations.
“Give INEC the law to begin preparation for 2021. Drop issue of direct and indirect primaries and let’s move forward,” he said.
Also speaking, the governor of Nasarawa State, AbdullahiSule, said the 36 governors are not afraid of direct primaries as being alleged by some Nigerians.
Earlier in his welcome address, Yiaga Africa Executive Director, Samson Itodo, explained that the town hall meeting would specifically discuss key provisions of the Electoral Bill and their implications for election management, election security, electoral integrity and voter participation as well as legislative and executive action required to conclude the amendment process.
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