A progressive society is said to be one which consistently seeks the means of its conservation through the protection of democratic liberties.
Nations are therefore expected to be guided by this philosophy in their chequered political history against anti-democratic forces and the trappings of institutional abasement.
However, pundits and critical stakeholders are of the view that democratic transition in Nigeria in recent times fall short of the tenets of an egalitarian society.
Rt. Hon Dumnamene Dekor, member-elect, Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency is one of the adherents of reforms in the Nigeria’s electoral process to evince the conviction of the citizenry in the democratic process.
Rt Hon Dekor who spoke with The Tide in an interview ahead of the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly, picked holes in the conduct of the last general elections in the country, stating that the right of the citizenry to exercise their franchise was grossly threatened by anti-democratic forces.
Dekor said the reluctance of the All Progressive Congress (APC)led Federal Government to effect practical reforms in the electoral process was an indication of a deliberate plot to subjugate the rights of Nigerians and breed political system where the whims and caprices of some emerging political tyrants would hold sway.
According to the Ogoni born politician, such insensitivity and remote sense of power portends grave consequences for the country; “Representative democracy is under severe threat in Nigeria, a system were citizens are obstructed from participating in the election of their political leaders will create room for the emergence of leaders who are completely alienated from the people, when leaders emerge through popular mandate they are conscious of the fact that they owe the electorates a sense of responsibility.”
Dekor who observed a lull in national planning and development under the APC led federal government, said the years of late U at Umaru Yaradua and Goodluck Jonathan as presidents were characterised by equity and fairness in federal appointments and citing of projects across the country: “The APC government has failed to respond to the imperatives of justice in the running of the country’s affairs, Nigeria is a federal structure and operate on the principles of Federal Character, unfortunately the federal character principle seem to have been suspended. The country is presently drifting towards tribalism and nepotism as almost all federal appointments are lopsided, Nigerians are now vulnerable to unabated repressions and anarchy.”
Commenting on the conduct of the last general elections in Rivers state, the grassroots politician decried what he described as “brazen impunity “against the right of Rivers people to elect their leaders: “The experience in Rivers state during the last general elections was quite disheartening, the exercise was reduced to a full military operation, there was a gross circumvention of civil authorities by military forces, I commend Rivers people for remaining poised and resilient in the face of intimidation and conspiracies, I think the greatest lesson from the last election in Rivers is that there is a limit to tyranny as the will of the people must always prevail, politicians should learn to play the game by the rules and not by tyranny of mere will.”
Rt. Hon Dekor is obviously not a greenhorn in legislative business. He ascended the ladder of legislative duties, when he rose from the position of Deputy Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly to become a member of the Federal House of Representatives under the platform of the People Democratic Party (PDP).
However his first sojourn in the National Assembly was truncated few months after, a situation he described as a theft of his and insult on the sensibilities of the people of Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency.
Dekor vowed to reclaim his “stolen” mandate and was vindicated when recontested for the same seat, still under the platform of the PDP and in a landslide victory.
According to him, his second sojourn in the Nation Assembly is to consolidate on the gains of Representative Democracy by giving effective representation to the people of Khana/Gokana,and contribute in meaningful debates for the enactment of laws that will promote democracy in Nigeria.
Listing the panacea for sustainable democracy in Nigeria, the Federal Lawmaker elect said: “Only a strong parliament and a strong opposition can salvage Nigeria’s democracy.”
He recalled that the foundation of Nigeria’s democracy was strong at its incubational stage because there were committed leaders, patriots and parliamentarians who gave service and defended the tenets of democracy.
He however noted that the system nosedived because of the instructions of the country’s legislative processes, as the legislature was always the first to be suspended during military incursions in politics: “Nigeria’s democracy is evolving, a country’s journey to nationhood is always tedious but it takes a high level of commitment on the leaders and citizens to achieve success.”
Dekor also barred his mind on Governor Nyesom Wike’s post victory declarations, particularly the olive branch offered to members of the opposition join perforce with his administration for the development Of Rivers State.
He said: “Governor Wike is a man of great leadership skills and capabilities, I applaud him for his magnanimity and politics of accommodation, he is a man of his words and he has already demonstrated sincerityof purpose by accommodating people of various divides in his transition program.”
The seasoned Law Maker called on all politicians in Rivers State to embrace the offer by the RiversState Governor and abhor politics of bitterness to movethe State forward.
He regretted the fact that the enemies of Rivers State takes advantage of the political squabbles in the stateto paint the State in bad light: “Rivers State is a costly political bride and the centre of unfettered attraction in the country, most people envy Rivers State because of its strategic economic advantage, we must stop the politics of lies and calumny which has robbed the state of federal projects.”
Dekor was also saddened by the cult relate war and bloodletting that have engulfed Ogoni in recent times, resulting in the colossal wastages of human lives and properties.
He said the virtues of hard work and discipline for which Ogoni was renowned was fast eroding as a result of the invasion of the area by unbridled cultism: “Ogoni is drifting into anarchy and this is inimical to the overall development of the area. Something must be done to curb this menace. Let me use this opportunity to call on all Ogoni sons and daughters to embrace peace and shun cultism”
He attributed the crisis in Ogoni and other parts of society to neglect of the traditional values and norms of the people in preference of a strange culture that glorifies mediocrity: “It’s regrettable that most youths today do not want to work hard and apply skills to earn a living, but they want to live exorbitant and flamboyant lifestyles, there is also the issueof bad role modeling, as most young people today have admiration for those who use arm illegally to acquire wealth.
Speaking on the implementation of the UNEP report recommendation on the clean-up of Ogoni environment, Dekor described the exercise as “a piece of fraud.”
He berated the federal government for playing politics with Ogoni clean up exercise.
He said, “There is no clean up going on in Ogoni, rather the federal government is concerned about the resumption of oil exploration in ogoni the area. It’s quite disturbing that the federal government is playing politics with the destiny of a people that have paid a great price for the development of the country, some of the clandestine activities of federal government are responsible for the insecurity in Ogoni Land.”
COVID-19: Oyetola Announces State Lockdown …As 2nd Coronavirus Case Confirmed
Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola has announced the total lock-down of the state following the confirmation of the second case of Coronavirus in the state.
Oyetola in a statewide broadcast yesterday in Osogbo said all land boundaries would be shut effective from midnight of Sunday, March 29.
The governor said during the period of lock-down there would be no inter-state movement.
Oyetola also said that there would be no movement within the state as from March 31, adding that only those on essential duties such as health personnel, fire service, environmental officials, security personnel, media, power and water supply agencies, and telecommunication officers on duty would be allowed to move.
The governor described the decision as imperative in view of the devastating nature of the pandemic, saying that the first priority of any responsive and responsible government is to respond effectively to protect its citizens when an emergency occurs.
Oyetola, who expressed sadness over the confirmed second case of the virus in the state, reiterated that the state lock down remained the only way to go if the state was to contain the spread of the disease.
The governor, however, urged residents of the state to buy enough food and provisions that would last them for two weeks in the first instance.
Oyetola said government had mandated and mobilised security operatives and task force to ensure compliance with the lock down.
“Following a review of our current situation, we have in addition to the subsisting measures taken in the past one week, decided to shut down all our boundaries, effective from midnight Sunday, March 29, 2020.
“We believe this is the way to go, if we must contain the spread of this virus.
“To this end, we urge citizens and residents to take advantage of the hours between now and Tuesday to stock up provisions that will last them two weeks in the first instance.
“During the lock-down, there will be no movement within the state.
“The closed boundaries also means there will be no inter-state movements.
“We have mandated and mobilised the state’s task force and security operatives to enforce measures to the letter.
“ We, therefore, strongly advise our people to remain in their homes during the period of the lock-down”, the governor said.
Buhari, Jonathan, Others Congratulate Tinubu At 68
President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a congratulatory message to a former governor of Lagos State and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, who clocked 68 Saturday.
The president, who spoke through his aide, Femi Adesina, praised Alhaji Tinubu’s “courage, forthrightness and diligence in providing exemplary and broadminded leadership for the political party.”
He said the leadership example set by Mr Tinubu in Lagos has steadily provided a ladder for budding leaders to grow and contribute to national development.
“Asiwaju greatest strength lies in his ability to look beyond religious, ethnic and political stereotyping, embracing the reality of Nigeria as one entity,” President Buhari was quoted as saying.
Also, former President Goodluck Jonathan felicitated with Bola Tinubu whom he described as a patriot and political leader who has contributed so much to the growth of the nation’s democracy.
“As a patriot, politician and leader, you have contributed so much to the advancement of our nation’s democracy and nurtured many individuals to greatness. I wish you more years of sound health, peace and glory, as you celebrate. Happy birthday, Your Excellency,” Mr Johnathan said, through his spokesperson, Ikechukwu Eze.
For Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, AlhajiTinubu is a leader of leaders and political colossus who has paid his dues in the country’s political firmament and beyond, thus deserving the respect of all and sundry across party lines.
Mr Fayemi, through his press secretary, Yinka Oyebode, added that Mr Tinubu’s “actions inspire us — his admirers — to dream more, learn more, do more and become more. He is a political colossus who will continue to bestride the Nigerian political landscape for many more years to come.”
We Are Saddened By Akure Explosion– APC
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State says it is deeply saddened by the grim effect of Saturday’s explosion of a dynamite-laden truck on the Akure-Owo highway.
Recall that the explosion had destroyed a church, school and some houses while cutting the highway in two.
The party in a statement made available to newsmen yesterday in Akure by Mr Alex Kalejaiye, the state’s Publicity Secretary, commiserated with the victims of the explosion.
“The party’s sympathy goes to the victims of the deadly circumstance, the state government and entire people of the state,” the statement said.
It commended the quick response of the government and the security agencies in allaying the fears of residents and for seeking alternative route to the damaged portion of the ever-busy Akure-Owo road.
The party called on companies and individuals to be more circumspect in taking precautions when moving items that were capable of unleashing devastating consequences on people, when handled carelessly.
It wished those injured speedy recovery, stressing the need for federal authorities to expedite action on the rebuilding of the road as well as lend support to those whose property were destroyed.
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