Connect with us

Politics

2015 And Electoral Violence In Nigeria

Published

on

There  is no agreeable
‘definition of electoral violence. This is because of the contentious issue of “violence begets violence” developed by Frantz Fanon in the era of anti-colonial struggles. The Fanonian argument is predicated on the fact that ‘violence provokes violence’. So those who retaliate to the first violence of political  opponent do not agree that they are perpetrating violence. They sirnply argue that they are countering violence.
From the array of definitions available, one can glean an operational definition. Operationally, electoral violence connotes all forms of violence (physical, psychological, administrative, legal and structural) at different stages engaged in by particiipants, their supporters and sympathizers (including security and election management body staff) in the electoral process. These forms of violence take place before elections, during elections and after or post-election, and could also be intra- or inter-party.
Since Nigeria became independent on October 1st 1960, the history of election has been written in violence. The Human Rights Watch (2007) in its follow up of post-independence events in Nigeria describes the nation’s post-independence history as being overshadowed by the depredations of a series of corrupt, abusive, and unaccountable governments. This description is apt because it appears that Nigerians seem to have acquired a culture of electoral violence as seven of the eight general elections conducted since independence in 1960 have been violence-ridden -1964/1965,1979,1983,1999,2003,  2007 and 2011.
For example, at independence, the country adopted a parliamentary system of government akin to the British type. The first post-independence election organized by that government led by Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa\President Nnamdi Azikiwe in 1964 and 1965 were characterized by widespread complaints of fraud, violence and intimidation. Protests in the wake of the regional elections, which in some areas degenerated into a violent exercise in competitive rigging, led to widespread violence and inter-communal rioting that claimed more than 200 lives.
Later in January 1966, the military struck and the fledging Nigerian democracy was thwarted by the action of its very own practitioners. From 1966, the military held sway until 1979 when they handed over to another civilian government headed by Alhaji Shehu Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN). The Shagari-Ied government organized a civilian to civilian transition election but again like its First Republic counterparts, repeated history and massively rigged the 1983 general elections through very violent means in connivance with the election management body, Federal Election Commission (FEDECO) and security forces. That again set the stage for the second wave of military intervention in the nation’s politics on December 31, 1983. The military from then remained in power until  May 29, 1999 after, several attempts to democratize.
Suffice it to  say that between independence in 1960     and 1999 when civilian rule was restored, Nigeria     produced only two elected governments and both were overthrown in military coup de’tats before completing a second term in office.  In all, Nigeria’s military ruled the country for nearly 30 of its first 40 years of independence, excluding the three months of short-lived Interim National Government (ING)
Since the restoration of civil rule, attempts have not been made by politicians to deepen and strengthen democracy. Instead, Nigeria has only added to its history  fraudulent and violent elections. The 1999, 2003 and 2007 general elections that brought President Olusegun Obasanjo and later late President Umaru Yar’ Adua to power were marred by such widespread violence and fraud.
For example, the US-based Jimmy Carter Centre for Democracy which monitored the 1999 election as an international observer concluded its report on the outcome of the presidential election like the others before it  thus: “It is not possible for us to make an accurate judgment about the outcome of the presidential election”. In the same vein, the  2003 elections were more pervasively and openly  rigged than the flawed 1999 polls, and  far more bloody.
These events set the stage for the 2007 elections which both domestic and foreign observers succinctly described as the worst in Nigeria’s history ranking among the worst conducted anywhere in the world in recent times. For instance, the US-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) stated in its post-election statement that the electoral process “failed the Nigerian people”.
The Human Rights Watch (2007) which monitored the  election in its report said the Nigeria’s failed April 2007 polls cast a harsh and very public light on patterns of violence, corruption and outright criminality that have come to characterize Nigeria’s political system-and on the extent to which officials and institutions at all levels of government accept, encourage and participate in those abuses. The 2007 and 2011 general elections had come and gone with some cases still in courts, Nigerians .are afraid of future elections especially the 2015 elections that is a stone throw away.
There are plethora of reasons that account for the causes of electoral violence.
These include rigging, ineffectiveness of security forces and culture of impunity, partisan disposition of the security forces detailed to monitor elections, weak penalties against defaulters and poor handling of election petitions, among others.
It is true that electoral violence has characterized our political elections since independence. This trend can be reversed only if we can change our mindsets on what politics and governance is all about. Politics should not be conceived as the most lucrative industry in Nigeria. It is this mindset that makes aspirant or political office seekers to exhaust “all means” in capturing  the position. It should be seen as a service to humanity and protecting the lives and the welfare  of our  prosperity.
Governance should be transparent at all levels. Electoral rules should be enforced. Political positions should be made unattractive by downward review of their take-home salary/allowances. Within our constituencies, we should be our brothers’ keeper. Electoral officials should devoid themselves of corrupt practices, while law enforcement agents should remain neutral. Politicians found parading thugs should be disqualified from the race. Violence free election is achievable in 2015
Being an excerpt of a public lecture delivered at the sensitisation/awareness campaign by the Rundele Peoples Assembly in Port Harcourt, recently.

 

President Goodluck Jonathan and Buhari

President Goodluck Jonathan and Buhari

Ben Thom-Otuya

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Politics

APC Denies Zoning Chairmainship To N’Central

Published

on

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has denied zoning its national chairmanship position to the North Central.
The National Secretary, APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Sen. James Akpanudoedehe, said this on Monday in Abuja when he spoke with newsmen.
Akpanudoedehe was reacting to a media report that the party had zoned the position to the North Central, adding that the issue of zoning was not part of the mandates of the CECPC.
“I have the mandate to report that whatever decision the CECPC takes and to the best of my knowledge the committee has not discussed zoning,’’ he said.
He added that with the party‘s national convention slated for February 2022, it was expected that party members would come up with different zoning speculations.
“People are just flying what will favour their interest, all I know is that the caretaker committee has not discussed or reached a zoning decision,’’ he said.
Also, Senator Victor Lar, Media Director, Sen. Ali-Modu Sheriff Campaign Organisation, said that the report was laughable describing it as figment of the imagination of those who planted it.
Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff, a two-term governor of Borno State, is a frontline aspirant for the APC chairmanship.
“We find the purported story as very laughable because the organs of the party that are supposed to communicate that kind of information are not the ones communicating it.
“For that reason, we will take it with a pinch of salt.
“Again, the APC as a party has never adopted zoning, therefore, the story of it zoning the national championship to the North Central can better be described as a figment of the imaginations of those who planted it.
“We find the report as the very poor scheming of people who are scared of contesting the position with Sheriff,’’ Lar said.
He said it was obvious that Sheriff’s hard work and his manner of campaign had unsettled other aspirants.
This, he said, was especially because he had gained unprecedented support from party members and critical stakeholders from across the country.
Lar added that the race for the APC national chairmanship was an open contest, saying that the best candidate should be allowed to emerge.
He said this was necessary for the party to be galvanised for victory in the 2023 general elections.
He said that Sheriff- a two-term governor of Borno State remained the best candidate for the APC national chairmanship.  On the approval given by President Muhammadu Buhari for the party‘s National Convention to hold in February 2022, Lar said there was a need for the National Executive Committee (NEC) to meet and rectify the date. “Though we had commended the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) for taking the initiative to meet with Buhari on the need for the party’s National Convention to be conducted.

“The decision to hold the convention in February 2022 has to be taken by the party’s NEC. The president does not have the constitutional powers to call for a meeting.

“Neither do the governors elected on the party’s platform. It is only the party’s NEC that can take such a decision as regards when its national convention will hold.

“The February date must therefore be rectified by the party’s NEC to make it constitutional,” he said.

Lar appealed to APC members and Sheriff‘s teeming supporters to remain calm and focused.

“We are on course and victory is certain.
“I want to assure that Sheriff will work amicably and with an open heart with everyone, irrespective of religion and tribe when he becomes the party national chairman by God’s grace and with their support,” he said.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Politics

No Father Christmas In Politics, Ayu Tells Youths

Published

on

The incoming National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Iyorchia Ayu, has charged youths not to fold their arms and wait for power-shift but rise to the challenge of leadership at various levels, noting that power is never given on a platter of gold.
He gave the charge at when a delegation of Benue youths, under the auspices of Benue Transition Mentees (BTM), paid him a courtesy visit at his Maitama residence in Abuja, recently.
Youths in the country have consistently accused old politicians of sitting tight in power and denying them the opportunity to govern.
But Ayu, a former Senate president, who advised Nigerian youths to channel their energy into the right direction, said the future belonged to youths who prepared themselves.
“We often hear that youths are the leaders of tomorrow, but that is not automatic. The future really belongs to youths who follow their passions, who prepare themselves and who go after what they want.
“There are youths who are doing drugs, who are into all sorts of vices like kidnapping, prostitution, what they call Yahoo-yahoo. Some make up the battalions in the banditry ravaging the country. The future does not belong to these.
“Organise yourselves, mobilise your large constituency and go for what you want, including public office. There is no Father Christmas in politics.
“Sometimes, young people forget that many of us started out on this route as young men too. I became a graduate at 23, got my PhD at 31, was a senior lecturer at 37 and was elected to the Senate at 39 where my colleagues made me Senate President at 40. I can say that for others too.
“And in many of these outings, we successfully competed against older, more experienced people. So, when youths say, ‘Give us a chance,’ I tell them, ‘Chance is not always a gift. Power is never given on a platter or in a parcel.’ So, mobilise and take your chance as we march to 2023,” he said.
Meanwhile, allies of a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, under the aegis of Waziri Atiku Political Family and Associates (WAPFA) have appealed to Nigerians to return the PDP to power in 2023.
They also called on PDP leaders across the six geopolitical zones to rise above partisanship, regional interest and endorse Atiku as consensus presidential candidate for the election.
A statement yesterday by the WAPFA National Coordinator, Deacon Elijah Afolabi, said PDP would rescue Nigerians from what he described as mis-governance.
But reacting, the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON) and a chieftain of the APC, Osita Okechukwu, in a statement yesterday said the PDP cannot be trusted.
He argued that the PDP had been in power for 16 years but failed to deliver good governance to the masses.
“How can Nigerians trust our sister political party, the PDP given their antecedents riddled with trust deficit? We know that times are hard; it is better to allow APC to fix Nigeria,” he said.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Politics

Orji Blasts Sit-Tight Politicians

Published

on

The immediate-past Governor of Abia State, and Senator representing Abia Central, Senator Theodore Orji, has said that re-cycling of expired politicians and the refusal of sit-tight politicians to vacate the political space for the younger ones are the reasons Nigeria is not making much progress in governance.
Senator Orji, who stated this while addressing newsmen in Umuahia, restated that his decision to quit elective position come 2023 was irrevocable. He said that his decision to bow out at the completion of his second tenure at the Senate was to allow the young generation prove their mettle.
Orji argued that there was no way the Not Too Young to Run Act signed into law in 2018 would be effectively implemented without the cooperation of the old politicians.
According to Senator Orji,  the Not Too Young to Run Act will remain a paper tiger until the old politicians are willing to vacate the political space.
His words: “I don’t speak from both sides of my mouth. By 2023 I will not seek elective position again. “Dominating the political space till eternity is inimical to raising new crop of political leaders.”
Orji who further explained that his decision to step aside in 2023 was personal and not under any pressure, urged old politicians to allow the young ones test their hands on the saddle.
On the corruption allegations against him being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which his kinsman and critic, Prince Benjamin Apugo, has always used against him, the former governor regretted that “Apugo does not comprehend the fact that being investigated by the EFCC does not automatically translate to being found guilty.”
Senator Orji dismissed Apugo’s attacks on him as misguided vituperations which he would not dignify with a response.
The former governor further  said that “unlike Apugo who is already in court with EFCC  over land grabbing, EFCC has neither indicted nor charged me to court for any offence.”
He accused his detractors of writing petitions against him to distract him. Senator Orji also said that the Bill on the conversion  of Abia State Polytechnic Aba which he sponsored was still awaiting  presidential assent so that Abia would rightly get a Federal Polytechnic like other states as provided for in the Constitution.
On the delapidated Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene federal road, which has been recently awarded for reconstruction, Orji expressed hope that the federal government would live up to its promise.
He attributed the feat to a collaborative efforts of National Assembly members from Abia and  Akwa Ibom State.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Trending