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Kali Gwegwe
 CEO, Nigeria Democracy Watchtower
2, Greenvilla-Customs Link Road
Biogbolo-Epie
Yenagoa, Bayelsa State


 

 

 

ANY PLACE FOR SELF HELP IN A DEMOCRACY?
by Kali Gwegwe

With the establishment of twelve new federal universities, more Nigerian youths now have access to tertiary education. About three hundred additional spaces were created. Government has also entered into an agreement with ASUU that will see Nigerian public universities being funded within the next four tears to meet up with global standards. Never in the history of Nigeria has so large a stretch of federal roads been motorable. All of these are happening despite the threats to make Nigeria ungovernable.

 

 Politicians are mostly known for telling voters what they intend to or can do if voted into power. This belief has been dislodged from the consciousness of Nigerian citizens owing to the spate of threats by opposition politicians and political parties.

 

Prior to the 2011 presidential elections, elements within the opposition party and some pro-northern apologists threatened to make things difficult for Goodluck Jonathan if he emerges victorious at the polls.  The threat was carried out immediately it became obvious that Jonathan was going to win. Thousands of innocent Nigerians, including women, children, and youth corps members serving the nation were killed in cold blood. Investments and properties worth billions of Naira were also destroyed in a senseless orgy of violence. Since then, Nigeria has not known peace.

While speaking at the grand finale of the campaign rally for the re-election of Governor Rauf Aregbesola in Osogbo, the Osun State capital; National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Oyegun threatened that the party will form a parallel government if the PDP rigged the presidential polls in 2015. Decent-minded Nigerians, irrespective of political affiliations condemned the threat by the APC to resort to self-help.

Just last week; during APC's Salvation Rally in Abuja, Governor Amaechi of Rivers State again threatened that the party will resort to civil disobedience and form a parallel government if PDP rigged the 2015 presidential polls. Like was in 2011 and other times, well-meaning Nigerians condemned APC's unpopular penchant for self-help.   

In the midst of these threats, three fundamental questions have risen and begging for answers: Who adjudicates in electoral disputes? Does the Electoral Act or constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria empower the APC to determine what it means for an election to be rigged? Is the punishment for rigging an election a rule that the innocent party forms a parallel government?

Some will query the government for not taking decisive actions against opposition politicians that have found it fashionable to threaten the peace and corporate existence of Nigeria. An African proverb says, “Be wise when dealing with a cripple, otherwise an impatient society will tag you as being vindictive.” A larger part of society is unaware of why many persons with questionable character join the opposition. The reason is that whenever the law catches up with them, they will simply interpret it as political witch-hunt and win the sympathy of unsuspecting citizens. 

In a blatant deviation from the fundamental ethics of journalism, a section of the Nigerian media never sees anything wrong in the actions and activities of opposition politicians, no matter how deplorable they are. They will rather chose to whip up sentiments that will paint the government black and seek to use same to pitch the gullible masses against the authorities each time opposition parties and their supporters are made to bear the consequences of their conducts. Is it not surprising that no mainstream media has written any editorial or advocacy press to condemn the actions of politicians and political parties that threaten the peace and survival of Nigeria?  

No doubt, the open endorsement of self-help by a section of the media has continued to encourage leaders of opposition parties in Nigeria to act without regard to the rule of law. Respected politicians all over the world that respect the rule of law are never known to embrace self-help, no matter the situation.

Perhaps, buoyed by the tactical support it enjoys from a section of the press, the opposition again demonstrated that it is indeed serious about making Nigeria ungovernable. Last week Thursday, some honourable members of the House of Representatives, defied every sense of civility and almost pulled down the gates of the National Assembly after the police, acting on security reports pointing to a likely breach of public peace, put in place some physical measures to avert same.

Whether the police acted rightly or wrongly, it was dishonourable for lawmakers, who expect other Nigerians to obey the legislations they make to wantonly break already existing sets of laws. After all, the Nigeria police is the creation of the same law they make. The best thing the agitated lawmakers could have done was to seek redress in the appropriate quarters.    

What is even most worrisome is the tactical rubbishing of the Nigerian judiciary. This is most regrettable. In fact, the opposition has benefitted so much from the justice system in Nigeria. With the intervention of the judiciary, Amaechi was declared governor of Rivers State in an election that he did not contest. There are numerous other state governors on the platform of the opposition that got victories in the courts. It is therefore sad for the opposition to turn around and drag the name of the judiciary in the mud.

This writer would want to remind the APC that millions of Nigerians cannot afford to go into exile should the nation be set ablaze by their actions. Tinubu, Amaechi, and many of them in the APC once went into exile when the country was at a boiling point. They will do same again if it gets to that point. What about the fate of millions of Nigerians that cannot afford the luxury of going into exile with their families? Let them act what they claim to be. Violence, through self-help is not the change Nigerians need.

President Jonathan has already commenced the change Nigerians need. After more than fifty years of independence, the president has taken the right decision concerning the power sector. Results have already begun to emerge. The long abandoned rail transport sector is being resuscitated. Same thing applies to the textile industry that is now creating thousands of jobs for Nigerians. More than ever before, farmers and the agriculture sector have received massive government attention. Several thousands of farmers, manufacturers, and industrialists now have easier access to credit facilities.

With the establishment of twelve new federal universities, more Nigerian youths now have access to tertiary education. About three hundred additional spaces were created. Government has also entered into an agreement with ASUU that will see Nigerian public universities being funded within the next four tears to meet up with global standards. Never in the history of Nigeria has so large a stretch of federal roads been motorable. All of these are happening despite the threats to make Nigeria ungovernable.

 

 

 

 


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