The Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, South East Zone held its last quarter 2018 Zonal Management Committee ,ZMC meeting yesterday in Enugu, Enugu State. In attendance during the meeting were Chairmen and Secretaries of the five South East State Branches of The CLO while the Zonal Chairman presided the meeting.
State of the Nation
The Civil Liberties Organisation as part of its mandate in deepening democracy, acting as a watchdog against the abuse of the democratic process and promoting the ideals of good governance in Nigeria is saddened to make the following observations as the way things are presently in Nigeria:
The Organisation expressed great worry over the worsening security situation in the country. After a critical appraisal of the situation on ground in Nigeria presently, we dare say that Under the Buhari administration, Nigeria is fast collapsing. Since the country’s independence in 1960, at no time in the history of the country has Nigerians witnessed the greatest level of killings chiefly by state actors and insurgents than now.
There is collapse of security structure across Nigeria and worsening insecurity that killings, banditry and insurgency have all become the defining characteristics of some parts of the country to the extent that mass burials and mass graves have all become a common thing here.
The Hobbesian state of nature where life is “brutish, nasty and short” cannot even describe the slide the country has taken in mowing down its helpless citizens with accompanying climate of impunity whereby the perpetrators of such killings and large scale violence are left untouched.
Under this administration, there is worsening issues of corruption despite the mantra of fighting corruption which has been the swan song of the Buhari administration. Those who defect to the ruling party are made overnight saints while those in opposition parties are demonized. The anti graft agencies literarily turn blind eye to corrupt acts of the “untouchables “ in this government to the extent that various government parastatals and agencies wallow in various fiscal malfeasance but such cases are treated with levity and handled with kid gloves.
There is worsening economic situation in Nigeria presently. The foreign exchange rate which we were promised $1to N1 keep wobbling and fumbling. Under this administration, Nigeria has bagged several awards in the negative which includes “World Poverty Capital”, low rankings in the Ease of Doing Bussiness among others.
Unemployment rate is also worsening in Nigeria under this administration while many companies have closed shop with some multinationals relocating outside the country.
Public infrastructure in the South East is at its worst state. Federal roads in the zone are such in deplorable conditions that travelling across different parts of the five south east states has become a daily nightmare. Heavy duty vehicles and Lorries who convey goods across suffer incalculable losses as vehicles fall at any slightest bend while owners of such goods also count their losses at all times.
Prelude to the 2019 general elections, there is a clear and present danger in Nigeria over the desperation of the ruling party to retain power at all costs without considering the wishes of the electorates.
The outcome of the staggered elections of Ekiti and Osun is a pointer that Nigeria may actually burst into flames next year going by the conduct of the electoral umpire, the INEC , security agencies and the incumbent administration at the federal level.
Nigerians are crying that this was not the change they yearned for and they have been told in practical terms going by the happenings so far in the polity that their wishes cannot prevail.
But the ominous signs notwithstanding, we urge Nigerians to exercise their power without reservation through the ballot paper and boxes during the elections. Nigerians must rise up and defend their hard worn democracy and also resist any attempt to truncate the choices they have made through the ballot.
INEC and its officials starting from the National Chairman down to the least electoral officer in the various polling booths and wards must remain the unbiased umpire they are supposed to be. They should resist the temptation of becoming an extension of the ruling party and strive to rescue our democracy by ensuring that votes counts.
The security agents must also do the same instead of acting any guided script or assisting any party to have any form of undue advantage over others during the polls.
We say no to any form of election boycott in the South east
While the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB have their rights to push for self determination and actualization of a Biafran Republic, the CLO views their recent stepping up the tempo and calls for election boycott in the South East during the 2019 general elections as a total political miscalculation and ill conceived project which poses serious adverse effects for the South East Zone.
The South East Zone is still suffering from the jaundiced and warped decision of the MASSOB members who disrupted the census exercise in some parts of the zone during the National Census of 2006.
To truncate the democratic rights of the south east people who are still part of Nigeria and had suffered serious marginalization owing to so many factors will be an over –kill and political suicide.
We urge the IPOB leadership to drop this election boycott stuff and also desist from dissuading or employing any tactics of any sort that will frighten or coerce anybody from the zone from exercising his franchise during the 2019 elections.
People of the zone should as a matter of fact realize that the 2019 election is a defining moment for the South East. It is a time to really have a bargaining power in the political configuration in Nigeria, a time to really get involved in the government at the centre as active players instead of playing second fiddle. They should therefore discountenance the boycott option and participate fully in the electoral process by obtaining their permanent voter cards, voting enmasse during the entire elections and defending their votes too.
Declaration of IPOB as a terrorist group and continued incarceration of their leaders.
Nothing could be more provoking and inciting than certain actions of the federal government and the Buhari administration whom by certain conducts have failed to realize that the present administration under a democratic dispensation is different from the Buhari military junta of 1983.
Waking up one day to declare the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB as a terrorist group and visiting their members with maximum force when such group doesn’t bear arms or have ever taken up armed struggle against the government is like killing a fly with a sledge hammer.
Surprisingly, the Fulani herdsmen militants who have caused untold havoc in the country leaving in their track – tears, sorrows and blood from incessant killings and mass murders have not been designated as a terror group in Nigeria. This is injustice raised to power two.
Till today, no compensation has been paid to the families of victims nor any form of punishment meted on the perpetrators of such violence and killing of defenseless IPOB members who were merely exercising their rights.
Abuse of the fundamental rights of Nigerians
Democracy gives an unfettered access to the citizens to enjoy their fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitutions as well as international treaties and conventions domesticated and ratified in the country.
Unfortunately, when an administration chose to be selective in obeying the rule of law and respect for the rights of the citizens, democracy is endangered giving rise to autocracy and any other bastardised form of governance.
Nigerian citizens have their right to engage in peaceful processions and assembly and we condemn in totality the shooting and killing of unarmed protesters under any guise. No reason given can also justify such killings and the administration that engages in such should be aware that the day of reckoning is coming.
In all, we urge Nigerians to be eternally vigilant, drop any iota of apathy and get involved in salvaging the country from its nadir state with the hope of rising again.
Signed for the CLO South East Zone
Comrade Aloysius Attah
Comrade Zulu Ofoelue
Chair, Enugu State Branch
Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme
Chair, Anambra State Branch
Comrade Chidi Mbah
Sec, Anambra State Branch
Comrade Paschal Oziri
Chair, Imo State Branch
Comrade Vitus Ohaeri
Member, Imo State Branch
Comrade Ralph Eze
Chair, Ebonyi State Branch
Comrade Augustine Iwuoha
Comrade Pedro Azuogu
Chair, Abia State Branch