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.
Kano Tribunal Judgment, Slap On Constitutionalism, Rule Of Law -NNPP
The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has described the judgment of the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that nullified the election of Governor Abba Kabiru Yusuff as a slap in the face of constitutionalism and the rule of law.
In a signed statement made available to newsmen by its acting national chairman, Abba Kawu Ali, the NNPP said its candidate won convincingly in the March 18, 2023, election, which it described as free, credible, and globally acclaimed as a fair election.
He said the pronouncement of the 3-man tribunal is laughable and a pure miscarriage of justice, which is capable of eroding the confidence of the electorate in the judiciary.
He, however, called on the party’s supporters across Nigeria to remain calm as the party will appeal the tribunal’s judgement.
“The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) receives with utter incredulity and disbelief the judgment of the Kano State Election Petition Tribunal on the March 18, 2023, Governorship Election.
“The reported judgement nullified the free, credible, and globally acclaimed fair election of our gubernatorial candidate, Engr. Abba Kabiru Yusuf, and brazenly awarded the election to the APC candidate, Nasiru Gawuna.
“The Tribunal arrived at this unjust judgment by unfairly subtracting 165,663 votes from the governor’s tally to enable it to unfairly award the result to the candidate of the ruling APC.
“In doing so, the tribunal obviously affirms its belief that the vote tally of the APC candidate was sacrosanct.
“The judgment of the 3-man Kano State Governorship Election Petition is laughable and nothing but a pure miscarriage of justice.
“The decision of the Tribunal is a slap in the face of constitutionalism and the rule of law and is capable of further discouraging the electorate from having confidence in the judiciary.
“The NNPP recalls with regret that this Tribunal has simply replayed the unholy script of 2019 by overturning the will of the people and awarding results to those who evidently lost the election.
“The NNPP will appeal this most unfair judgement.
We call on millions of our supporters in Kano and in the rest of the country to remain calm and maintain peace. A lopsided judgment cannot stand on the altar of justice”, he said.
Ondo Assembly Moves To Impeach Dep Gov
Indications emerged on Wednesday, that members of the Ondo State House of Assembly have commenced the process of impeaching the state Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
This is coming following an emergency plenary session summoned by the House of Assembly on Wednesday, with heavy presence of security men at the Assembly gate.
The Tide source gathered that at least 23 lawmakers have already appended their signatures, supporting the impeachment notice against Aiyedatiwa.
A source disclosed that the Deputy Governor is under investigation for alleged gross misuse of office and might be eased out of office through impeachment.
According to the source, trouble started when Aiyedatiwa reportedly approved the sum of N300 million for the purchase of a bulletproof SUV for his personal use.
The source said the approval was allegedly given while the state Governor was recuperating in Germany and it was approved without the knowledge of the governor.
He said the Deputy Governor further complicated matters when he ordered that the N300 million should be sourced from the Palliative fund.
He said “This fund, provided by the Federal government, was intended to support states in addressing the needs of their citizens.”
The source said the impeachment proceedings underscore the Assembly’s commitment to accountability, even at the highest levels of state governance.
Further developments in this case were being awaited as the situation continued to unfold.
Bauchi Tribunal Upholds Gov Mohammed’s Election
The Bauchi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has upheld the victory of Governor Bala Mohammed in the March 18, 2023 governorship election.
Delivering the judgment on Wednesday, Chairman of the three-man panel of the Tribunal, Justice P.T Kwahar, dismissed the petition of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakr (rtd), who challenged result of the election.
The tribunal held that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, electoral irregularities as well as bypass of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (B-VAS) machines in some polling units of Toro, Dass, Zaki, Itas-Gadau, Alkaleri, Bauchi, Tafawa Balewa, Ningi, Dambam and Ganjuwa Local Government Areas.The Tribunal held that there was no tangible evidence to show that the BVAS was truly manipulated.The judge explained that the witnesses brought by the petitioner presented evidence based on hearsay as they were not present at the polling units, “they have failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the APC candidate won the election.”
“This court therefore returns the second respondent as the elected governor of Bauchi state by the first respondent in the conduct of the governorship election of the 18th of March, 2023,” he held.
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