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.
Shehu Explains Buhari’s Controversial Tweet On Biafra
The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, says his principal deserves credit over his efforts in tackling acts of terrorism in Nigeria.
Shehu stated this on Friday while presenting a paper, tagged ‘Fake news: challenges of information management’, at the 10th year anniversary of the Federal University Dutsin-Ma (FUDMA), in Katsina State.
He revisited the issue that led the Nigerian government to ban microblogging site, Twitter, on 5 June 2021, insisting that it was the right call.
Recall that the Buhari administration officially put an indefinite ban on Twitter, restricting it from operating in Nigeria after the social media platform deleted tweets made by the president warning the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the South-Eastern people of Nigeria of a potential repeat of the 1967 Biafran Civil War due to the perceived insurgency in the South-Eastern part of the country.
The Nigerian government claimed that the deletion of the President’s tweets factored into their decision but it was ultimately based on “a litany of problems with the social media platform in Nigeria, where misinformation and fake news spread through it have had real world violent consequences”, citing the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
“It is an opinion that the president’s comments on IPOB, which led the banning of twitter in Nigeria was controversial. For many it was not,” Shehu said on Friday in Katsina.
“President Buhari has therefore been warning against social media disruptive and divisive influences, and the government’s action is not a knee-jerk reaction to Twitter’s preposterous deletion of his tweet which should have been read in full.
“The tweet was not a threat, but a statement of fact. As a terrorist organisation, IPOB poses a significant threat to the safety and security of Nigerian citizens.
“When the President said that they will be treated “in a language they understand,” he merely reiterated that their force shall be met with force. It is a basic principle of security services response world over.
“This is not a promotion of hate, but a pledge to uphold citizens’ right to freedom from harm. The government cannot be expected to capitulate to terrorists.”
Abaribe Wants More Women In Governance
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Senate minority leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, has called for more inclusiveness of women, saying their role in the nation’s development can no longer be ignored.
Abaribe who stated this at the opening ceremony of the silver jubilee celebration and conference of the League of Women Voters of Nigeria, NILOWV, in Abuja, noted that the country must come up with a strategy to encourage women participation in the political process.
“We must try to encourage and support women as much as we can because we cannot have 50 per cent of our society not being given the opportunity to contribute to society. We must realize that the good of society also depends on women because they are our nurturers. If things are not going well for women, you can imagine how that will affect the rest of us,” he said.
The federal lawmaker also lamented the plight of women in their quest for elective offices, saying a lot of hurdles have been stacked against them in the past.
“I think what is going on is that ignorance is being pushed and of course religion and traditional practices are used to suppress women. So, it is up to women with education to arise and speak up. One of the things that even men find difficult to understand is that women sometimes find it difficult to support themselves and that is a bit difficult for those of us who continue to push for women to get farther than they are at the moment,” he added.
Speaking earlier, President and founder of NILOWV, Esther Uduehi, said the time had come for Nigerian women to take their place in the collective task of nation-building.
Speaking on the theme of the conference, “Nigerian women: overcoming challenges in politics and leadership for national development,” Uduehi noted that the organization “seeks to empower women and girls from age 18 and above politically and economically for national development,” adding that NILOWV “believes that if the nation is to progress, there is need for gender mainstreaming in all facets of life.
According to her, “gender inequality is not a women’s issue but an economic one. Gender inequality does more harm to the general and economic development of any country and every effort should be made to enthrone gender equality in Nigeria.”
The group called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government as well as sub-national governments to do everything possible to consider the full implementation of the 35 per cent affirmative action for women.
Other dignitaries at the event include, former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, Special Assistant to President Buhari on Political Affairs, Babafemi Ojudu, among others.
Atiku Urges FG To Emulate PDP Govs
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has urged the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government to emulate the infrastructural development in states being governed by governors elected on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in order to surmount unemployment that is breeding social ills in the country
Abubakar stated this in Bauchi while inaugurating the 4.2 kilometres Gombe-Maiduguri Bypass road constructed by the administration of Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed.
According to the former vice-president, infrastructural projects were instruments of economic empowerment being used to create jobs for unemployed youths, declaring that unemployment was the root cause of social ills, including banditry, kidnapping, among others.
The PDP chieftain commended Governor Mohammed for his administration’s relentless efforts in delivering dividends of democracy to the people of the state and urged the governor to sustain the momentum and accelerate the pace of good governance in Bauchi State.
“Let me commend you for reducing the unemployment in the state and the country at large because it is this unemployment wave that is creating all the social ills that we are facing in the country.
“I wish the Federal Government would copy what the PDP states are doing in this country because in every PDP state you go, you will find infrastructural development projects taking place and I cannot recall any APC state commissioning projects,” he said.
Abubakar noted that Mohammed’s giant strides in Bauchi is the governor’s way of laying the pathway for PDP to retain the state and its return to power at the federal level.
“Your Excellency, you are virtually laying the pathway to the return of PDP in the state and also the country at large. I want to commend your contributions in that regard,” he said.
He then commended the state House of Assembly, which is controlled by the APC, for its cooperation with the executive arm of the state government, saying that this is a demonstration of placing the state above any other considerations.
“Let me also use this opportunity to commend the state House of Assembly, that in spite of the fact that the Assembly is controlled by the opposition party, the development of the state is far more important to them than political beliefs.”
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