The Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (IHRHL) once again commends the president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari for declaring June 12 a “Democracy Day”, acknowledging the victory of the people of Nigeria in a free and fair election in 1993, when MKO Abiola won the election but was dictatorially disallowed the peoples mandate to govern, an act which disfigured the reputation of the General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida-a real dictator.
IHRHL immediately reminds the president that the essence of democracy is the prevalence of the will of the people exercised through periodic elections, checks and demands for accountability from the government.
It is the view of IHRHL that Nigerian people want a free and fair election and to this end, urge the president to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment bill before him in order to allow for the use of electronics in the entire process from registration to accreditation to voting to transmission, etc. and also to have Nigerians in Diaspora participate in the process.
IHRHL is aware that Nigeria is currently facing the question of divisibility and dissolution as a result of failure in leadership which is apparent in the declining security and welfare situation of the country; lack of security personnel to man the massive 923,768 square Kilometers, making it easy for kidnappers and bandits to easily attack vulnerable citizens in lonely places and go scot-free, inequality in the distribution of positions of authority, marginalization of other tribes, theft of the common wealth by few politicians and technocrats in high offices, poor management of the nation’s resources leading to naira devaluation, unemployment, massive importation of goods and services and less exports, poverty, corruption, etc.
The negative factors above have reminded the various regions and tribes in this country (Ibo, Yoruba, Ijaw, Ogoni, etc.) that they have a different origin and fatherhood and were independent nations before the British colonial masters coerced them into this unholy marriage of unequal yokes for their selfish economic interest of administrating a conquered territory (rich in agricultural produce and cheap labor/slaves).
It is the considered assertion of IHRHL that even a people from different fathers, culture and language could peacefully live together as a nation (e.g. United States of America), if every citizen, tribe is equally benefitting from the common wealth and opportunities of the nation. However, in a polity of inequality, underdevelopment due to corruption, selfishness, greed, and theft of common wealth by a few untouchables, tribalism and nepotism, uneven distribution of the national wealth, usurpation of the resources of some other tribes to service the entire nation, insecurity, unemployment and poverty, there would inevitably, be continuous clamor and aspiration for better livelihood, secession, resource control, divestment of individual and communal lands from the government, equality, accountability, rule of law etc.
Consequently, IHRHL is calling on the president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, to rise above tribal and party sentiments as a father of the country, call major stakeholders and representatives of the various tribes to forge a new social contract that will be owned by the people, to decide the question of the union, federalism, security, welfare, human rights, economy, justice, non- discrimination as to tribe or gender, equality, etc.
Furthermore, government must also show sincerity and competence in the development of the country against the culture of theft as we clearly have in the Niger-Delta Development Commission and all the ministries and sectors of the Government of Nigeria.
Government must zealously build a nation of unity in which all men are actually equal and can equally aspire to any position in a fair atmosphere and attain same if competent without recourse to tribe or gender; a nation not seen to be owned by the northerners who must decide who rules or not.
IHRHL also calls on the president and governors to encourage and establish community vigilante groups and communal policing to complement the efforts of the inefficient security apparatus in the nation (majorly due to lack of personnel), to secure the massive territory of the country including its borders and forests.
IHRHL urges the various tribes of Nigeria presently demanding for their right to self-determination to do so peacefully and non-violently within the ambits of national and international laws and policies.
Finally, while acknowledging the railway projects of the administration and the economic benefits of transportation of goods and services within the nation, IHRHL conversely calls on politicians and technocrats in office to stop stealing the peoples’ money and use same for earmarked purposes.
HAPPY DEMOCRACY DAY! GOD BLESS THE PRESIDENT AND GOVERNORS OF THIS NATION! GOD BLESS THE LEADERS AND PEOPLE OF THIS NATION AND GOD BLESS NIGERIA!
Courage Nsirimovu Esq.
Executive Director (IHRHL)
*Being a PRESS RELEASE issued Saturday, June12, 2021
Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.