While Nigerians are still trying to smart from the debacle of the disputed Nigeria Governorship Forum election, our politicians have presented us with another fait accompli. Over the past one week, Rivers State has been reduced to an amphitheater of political perfidy. Armed militants and thugs have been running amok all over Port Harcourt desecrating hallowed precincts of state institutions. This appears to be a well-rehearsed plot to denigrate, disgrace and destabilize democratic institutions in Rivers State. Ultimately, the plan might be to plunge the entire country into unnecessary chaos. Most unfortunately, Nigerian youths who are already at the receiving end of the vicissitudes of general governance failure pervading the land, are being increasingly recruited by gladiators in the Rivers State crisis as purveyors of mischief, violence and disruption of public peace. This Hobbesian state of political existence in Rivers State is distasteful, repulsive, highly unacceptable, condemnable, and an unmitigated assault on the sensibilities of Nigerians especially children and youths. In view of the fore going, we can draw the following conclusions from the events unfolding in Rivers state in particular and Nigeria’s political landscape in general:
– Political leadership in Nigeria is increasingly becoming a playground for pettiness, intrigues, infamy and mindless assault on public till and sensibilities. It is everything but governance. It is only unfortunate that as good governance continues to beat retreat from our public spaces; corruption, impunity, poverty, unemployment especially amongst the youths, and violence continue to soar in ascendancy as the order of the day.
– We are witnessing one of the shortest periods of governance in Nigeria after a general election as government business at the national level and in many states have been reduced to a struggle for a seat in the corridors of power come 2015. This is most unpatriotic and retrogressive given Nigeria’ overwhelming development deficits and comparative deficiencies with erstwhile peer countries like Singapore, Brazil, South Korea, India, South Africa and even Ghana.
– The theatre of absurdity being played out in Rivers State and the unnecessary drama that has trailed the recent Nigeria Governors Forum election, once again, clearly affirms the fact that political leadership has consistently been the albatross to Nigeria’s development. In this era of constitution review, these unfortunate developments clearly demonstrate that there is greater need to amend Nigeria’s political leaders than the laws of Nigeria.
– The cancerous culture of impunity which has been long tolerated and treated with Vaseline in Nigeria has become malignant and poses an imminent threat to our hard fought democracy.
1. We condemn in its entirety the show of shame going on in Rivers State and the stale stench from the recent Nigeria Governors Forum election where 16 votes are being promoted by those who hold the highest position of political trust in Nigeria as majority against 19 votes. This kind of political rascality is most insalubrious for the psyche of Nigerian children and youths. We call on all the gladiators in the political battle in Rivers State to refrain from recruiting Nigerian youths as prosecutors of their self-serving political agenda. The level of deprivation, poverty and unemployment amongst Nigerian youths is already enough punishment.
2. All elected political leaders at every level of government in Nigeria must realign themselves to the business of governance which is to deliver democratic dividends to citizens. The obsession of mere mortals with 2015 is not only immoral but puerile since our lives are not in our own hands.
3. The burgeoning culture of impunity, corruption and bad governance in Nigeria must not only be condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians but must also be resisted. We are not children of the night! A country so immensely blessed like Nigeria must afford her citizens with the basic necessities of life such as stable electricity, good roads, affordable and quality schools. We are entitled to good living conditions just like other peer countries. Therefore, the delivery of the dividends of democracy must be the yard stick for electoral trust come 2015. The Nigerian electorate must now rise above ethno-religious considerations to wield their votes as an ultimate tool of holding their leaders accountable. Our votes in 2015 must count in this wise.
4. Given the critical place of elections as a core institution of democracy, we call on Nigeria’s political leadership, especially the legislature, to hearken to the voice of the Nigerian people who have called for far reaching electoral reform ahead of 2015 elections. By far reaching electoral reform, Nigerians are calling for the full implementation of Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Committee Report which still holds the best road map out of Nigeria’s perennially failed leadership recruitment process. Key aspects of the report crucial for genuine electoral reform include non-partisan appointment process for INEC leadership, setting up of an electoral offences commission, publishing of election reports for each polling unit, and most critically effective oversight functions by INEC on internal party democracy and campaign expenditure.
5. We call for the immediate investigation and prosecution of all persons found to have acted in breach of the law either by acts of commission or omission in the shameful incidents of July 9, 2013 at the Rivers State House of Assembly and precincts of Government House, Port Harcourt.
6. Finally, we call on all patriotic and well-meaning Nigerians to be on alert as the prostitute that never knew the pain of child bearing is now calling on King Solomon to divide the child into two.
May God bless Nigeria!
Asuzu Echezona George Itodo
National Coordinator National Secretary
League of Patriotic and Progressive Youths (Young Patriots)