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.”
Igbo Youths Task PDP, APC On Presidency
The umbrella group of youth leaders in the South East geopolitical zone, under the umbrella of the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) has said that it is either the presidency for the Zone in 2023 or nothing.
The group emphatically demanded that the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, should cede the presidency to the South East zone in 2023 at the expiration of the tenure of the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari.
The youth coalition warned that refusal of any big political party to zone the presidency to the South East in 2023 simply means swimming against the tide of the curriculum of democracy in Nigeria.
This was contained in a statement issued by the President-General of the group, Chief Goodluck Ibem, and made available to newsmen in Umuahia on Saturday.
The Coalition warned that those clamouring for the North to take the presidency after eight years of Buhari’s presidency, are not patriotic, but place their personal gain and aggrandisement above the survival, progress and success of the country.
The youth leaders maintained that the zoning arrangement was borne out of doctrine of necessity designed as democracy bond with the sole objective of creating a sense of belonging, harmony, happiness, peace and unity for our dear country Nigeria.
The statement added, “Zoning of the presidency has its moral weight. Zoning of the office of the president to the South East in 2023 is very important to preserve the corporate entity of Nigeria and also calm down political tension.
Police Have Abandoned Duty For Political Thuggery – PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Kogi State has warned against looming anarchy in the state, saying police authority has left its duty post for political thuggery, intimidation of electorate by the State government and APC.
Deputy Director of Public Communications of the PDP in Kogi State Campaign Council, Austin Usman Okai in a press statement on Sunday said the state Commissioner of Police has refused to stop the rising political thuggery and intimidation of electorate by APC thugs in the state.
Okai alleged that the State Commissioner of Police was giving technical support to the All Progressives Congress, APC, political thugs in the state, which has made them untouchable for security agencies despite glaring evidences of violence against them.
The council called on Police authority, Departments of State Security to call the outgoing governor of Kogi State to order, stating that, “nobody has monopoly of violence but in PDP we believe in peace.”
“No amount of gun importation into Kogi State will make Bello popular, we warned that we will not continue running for help, and we must not be pushed into self defense as that will amount to anarchy, if police failed, we will protect ourselves, the IGP must guarantee our safety as we will not fold our hands and watch some APC government officials intimidate us using police and SARS.
“In Dekina local government, the government officials have contracted some boys whose responsibility is to go after our candidate posters and billboards, the boys are armed in Sienna buses and guns, the police are aware of their activities but decided to look the other sides, while the thugs are boasting they have police and nothing will happen.
Okai also expressed worries over the level of sporadic gunshots across Abejukolo the headquarters of Omala local government area of the state, stressing that activities of the local government administrator, Hon. Aboh in sponsoring thuggery activities against the main opposition party, PDP, under the guise of electioneering campaigns needs to be checked.
He noted that the LG administrator has contracted miscreants fully armed who move in Siena and Sharon buses across the entire local government to create panic, among members of opposition political parties in the area.
“Honourable Aboh is known to be harbouring hoodlums under the cover of vigilante group, but their main mission is to attack the PDP members and their families in the local government.”
He said the decision to start now is to create uneasy calm, instill fears into the electorate and supporters of PDP from the local government under the supervision of the state government.
“This ugly trend has also spread to Olamaboro Local Government where the coordinator of PDP in the local government, Enefola Charles Agada and his family have been harrassed severally, his properties destroyed and other members of the party chased out of the area”.
“This developement is expected to go round the local government as the election draws nearer,not for anything, but to ensure PDP members are chased out of their homes on the instructions of APC leaders who are viewing the election as a war.
He called on security agencies in Kogi to without further delay address the issue of thuggery from the ruling APC government in the state, noting that the APC’s only strategy in winning the election is to instill fear in the minds of the people not to come and vote in next month’s election.
“The APC have devised several means to spread to other local government areas of Kogi East to ensure voters particularly PDP supporters and sympathizers are not allowed to come out to vote.”
Ekiti PDP Disowns Members Urging Boycott Of LG Poll
Ekiti State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), on Sunday, declared its readiness to participate in the forthcoming local government elections scheduled for December 7.
In a statement by the State Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Jackson Adebayo in Ado Ekiti, PDP maintained that there was no amount of shenanigan that would stop the party from its resolve to participate in the election.
This position has also been corroborated by all the 16 Local Government Chairmen of the party in the state as the party threatens to brand members working secretly against its interest as rebels, with appropriate sanctions awaiting them.
The party described its members calling for boycott as fifth columnists working for the ruling APC.
“We are aware of some fifth columnists among us who, perhaps, are working in collaboration with APC to stop PDP from participation in the election due to public opinions that favours us.
“It is not unusual for some members to want to play fifth columnist in any political party, but whenever such action is established, it would be naturally treated as an anti-party activity
“We therefore call on all our members to ignore the ranting of some individuals against our participation in the council election.
“Rather, we should concentrate our energy on strategies that can win the election for us instead of allowing some black agents to plant distractions in the party,’’ he said.
Adebayo, who said that apart from the decision of the State Executive Committee of the Party to participate in the election, the State Working Committee (SWC) had also been up and doing in preparation for the election.
According to him, all necessary forms had been obtained by candidates while the party has concluded all documentation at the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) and only waiting for substitution if any need arises.
The PDP spokesman also explained that the party had put some mechanisms in place to ensure unity in the party which informed why imposition of any form was not allowed in the primaries of the candidates of the party.
The PDP state Chairman, Chief Gboyega Oguntuwase, in an interview confirmed the stand of the party.
“The position of the extended EXCO and the SWC, with all party chairmen of all the local governments remains same.
“We met and we discussed extensively on what the PDP should do concerning the local government election.
“We all resolved that, in the overriding interest of the party, so that there will be activity in the party, so that Ekiti people will have option, so that the fundamental provision of the constitution that we all have right to vote and be voted for would not be blotted out by unnecessary emotions and sabotage, we should participate in the elections.
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