Published On: Wed, Jun 27th, 2018

We Demand The Removal Of INEC Chairman – Middle Belt Group


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We Demand The Removal Of INEC Chairman – Middle Belt Group

We Demand The Removal Of INEC Chairman – Middle Belt Group

See statement below:

World Press Conference By Southern/Middlebelt Youth Leaders Forum In Abuja

1.  In appreciation we sincerely welcome you all to this first of its kind World Press Conference holding in the midst of euphoria generated by the recognition of June 12 as the Democracy Day and the honouring of the winner of the freest and fairest elections in the history of Nigeria. While we of the Southern and Middle Belt Youth Leaders Forum welcome the decision to accord June 12 its rightful place in history, we hasten to say that the gesture would truly count when we begin to re-enact the true spirit of June 12 by holding free, fair and peaceful elections as a norm and not accidental occurrence in our country.
We hail all patriotic individuals and organizations that made tremendous sacrifices on the issue of June 12 over the years just as we pray for the repose of the souls of Bashorun MKO Abiola, Kudirat Abiola, Chief Alfred Rewane, Bagauda Kaltho and all martyrs of June 12. Their sacrifices shall never be in vain. It is very unfortunate that the present government does not care about the affairs of the poor masses. We do not know if Mr. President and his party have totally forgotten all their campaign promises in 2015. If they have forgotten, we wish to remind them that a dollar is currently N361 instead of N1 per dollar as promised. The 3 million jobs opportunities for Nigerian youths per annum are still in the air, while the N5,000 stipends for unemployed young Nigerians as governments social responsibility as promised by APC is still being awaited etc. It is very unfortunate that we still hear of fuel subsidy while the present government promised Nigerians that there will be no more subsidy as it is a scam. That notwithstanding, it is unfortunate that the current cost of fuel is the worst in the history of great country, Nigeria. When they sold a barrel of fuel at about 40 dollars, there was much complaint and cry that they were handed over an empty treasury. But as we speak today, a barrel of crude oil is almost 90 dollars. The present government no longer cries of empty treasury, but no one has given account of where the excesses, even the recovered Abacha loots and other huge amount recovered from alleged looters since inception of Buharis administration are going. For the first time in the history of democracy, Nigerians are dying of hunger. Does it mean the masses voted for hardship in the 2015 presidential election? The price of goods in the market is on the increase and not affordable by the same poor people that President Buhari claims to represent. We are celebrating MKO Abiola who strongly believed in democracy, yet the present government does not respect the rule of law. While we demand the immediate and unconditional release of Distinguished Senator Enyinnaya Abaraibe, we express our regrets for voting Mohammadu Buhari as President. We, the youths are tired of their excuses, lies and deceits.
2.  We are worried about the latest overheating of the polity as politics continues to overshadow governance in our country with its attendant national embarrassment as professionalism is fast becoming alien in many of our public institutions. An example in the serial assaults on decency in public affairs is the audacious refusal of the police to submit to civil authority and the elastic tolerance of the growing impunity of its Inspector General. It is on record that the Inspector General of Police has defied the authority of the President when he refused to relocate to Benue State to restore law and order in that state. Since the President confessed that the IGP ignored his directive, there has been no evidence of his compliance with the order and no sanction has been imposed on him for this. It is little wonder that the Nigerian Police under him has become accumulated indication of a source of anarchy in the land. We are gradually rolling towards anarchy, as all sense of decency and order has been eroded. We have not forgotten how the police spokesman, taking a cue from his boss, declared a State Governor “a drowning man” and how the IGP has flagrantly refused to honour the Nigerian Senate invitation to explain why the authority has not been able to stop needless killings going on across the country and bring the killers to book.
3.  As we recognize and defend the right of the police to investigate crimes and interrogate anyone linked to such no matter their status, we are miffed at the conduct of the police, throwing professionalism overboard by conducting media trial of the Senate President and a sitting Governor without any proper investigation of serious criminal allegations. As a matter of fact, the police makes itself a butt of practical joke when it flip-flops, making three different statements within 72 hours on one case. It first summoned via media, the next, it withdrew the summon and asked for a written response within 48 hours, and then restated the summon all over again. No serious police behaves like this anywhere in the world.
4.  We have looked at the career record of the IGP and have not seen any outstanding performance that would necessitate Mr. President keeping such a man in such an esteemed office beyond the fact that he was the Commissioner of Police in Kano in 2015 where controversial polls took place and the Resident Electoral Commissioner who would have been questioned if there were challenges to the results was found dead with his wife and two children in a mysterious inferno. The then Commissioner of Police, who was promoted IGP within a year with over 30 senior officers ahead of him having their career abruptly terminated, explained away the deaths within a few hours without any serious investigation. Discipline has broken down under this IGP as we saw in a police who should be guarding a bank in Lagos, getting recruited on illegal duty by a politician to Ekiti State where he shot at people in a campaign rally.
5.  We have also studied the 12-point resolutions issued at the end of a joint executive session of both chambers of the National Assembly on the state of the nation and we consider them patriotic demands on the presidency at a time the country’s neck is between the sword and the block. There is no patriot who would want the wanton killings that have become daily occurrence to continue unhinged. This country was engaged in a Civil War for three years and there were days when there were no deaths recorded. Now that there is no war declared, we are packing body bags on daily basis. This is why what is required at the moment is for the Presidency to quickly deal with the issues raised in resolutions 1-11 passed by the joint sitting in order to restore confidence in the capacity of government to protect lives and property and lead an orderly society.
6.  Another flashpoint of anarchy is the growing intolerance of government to patriots who express contrary views to the misdeeds of government with strong arm tactics. The harassments that came the way of Lt. Gen. TY Danjuma after he exposed the collusion of military personnel with killer herdsmen readily come to mind as a measure of the burgeoning culture of tyranny in the country. In a similar vein, our attention has also been drawn to an allegation of attempt by the Federal Government to clampdown on former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel who is now Atiku Abubakar’s Presidential Campaign Director General and other well-meaning Patriots in order to curtail their freedom for holding contrary political views against President Muhammadu Buhari’s government. If this allegation is found to be true, it will amount to a throwback to the unfortunate days of the military regime of late General Sanni Abacha where persons who held and canvassed contrary political views were dealt with in a Gestapo manner. We therefore urge the Federal Government not to embark on any action reminiscent of that dark era of military rule, as we are currently in a democratic era, where contrary opinions must be tolerated.
7.  We also view the recent insensitive and provocative decision of the Kaduna State Government to convert all Chiefdoms in the State to Emirates as another potential source of anarchy if not quickly nipped in the bud. This attempt in internal colonialism is bound to lead to conflicts and acrimony and it should therefore be shelved immediately in the interest of peace and tranquility.
8.  We reject in its entirety the directives by President Buhari led administration to build Ranches with the suffering tax payers money or public funds hence cattle rearing business is private and does not generate revenue for Government and the generality of Nigerians. Therefore we use this medium to call on President Mohammadu Buhari led APC government to with immediate sack all the security chiefs in the country.
In one of the loudest encouragements given to killer herdsmen yet again in Abuja after a meeting of President Muhammadu Buhari with the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonisakin; and some defence chiefs, the Minister of Defense, Mansur Dan-Ali called for suspension of anti-grazing law in States where it has been passed and operational in some States, saying the suspension of the law would reduce the tension in States where herders clash with farmers. According to a statement released by Col Tukur Gusau, his spokesman, Mansur Dan Ali, maintained that the suspension of the law would further help in negotiating a safe route for herdsmen and their livestock. He argued thus: “There is a need for the Nigeria Police and Department of State Services to prosecute all the suspects arrested in the affected States, while negotiating safe routes for the herders,” he said. The Defense Minister has always defended and shielded the herdsmen against arrests and prosecution in what has become a cardinal programme of this government and which has heightened the fear of conflict of interest between the constitutional role of the President to defend the lives and property of all Nigerians and his self-assigned duty of being the Grand Patron of Miyetti Allah. The shielding of killer-herdsmen remains the strongest flashpoint of invitation to chaos and anarchy in our country as people would not continue to fold their arms forever as they are being killed with government unwilling to lift a finger in their defense. It would be recalled that in January this year, the Minister of Defence blamed passage of the anti-grazing law in some states as the cause of killings by herdsmen. His latest statement is capable of being interpreted to mean that the herdsmen would not stop their killings until all States embrace once again the outdated culture of open grazing of cows in this age and time. It is very unfortunate that Mr. President never addressed the nation after the killing of some Clergy and their church members. That ugly incident has been a forgotten issue. But we hear that some men who are accused of killing some herdsmen have been sentenced to death.
 9.  We insist that under Federalism, the Central Government has no right to ask States to void laws validly made by the Federating Units. Any person or group that has any grouse with any such law can only proceed to the law court to seek redress. This is the imperative of the demand for the restructuring of Nigeria as the defective structure of the country is what the killers and their enablers rely on to make life unbearable for those who are vulnerable and unprotected, by a unitary state being deployed for the defense of parochial and primordial interest. It is our submission that the announcement by the Minister is an overreach and a further indictment of the Federal Government of aiding and abetting the terror being perpetrated against farmers by herdsmen in what has been mischievously and erroneously tagged “farmers-herders clash”. We demand the immediate withdrawal of this obnoxious directive and for the Federal Government to stop the killings going on and promptly arrest those behind the killings so far for immediate prosecution. We ask for the rejig of the security architecture of the country to reflect the diversities, sensitivities and sensibilities within the polity. The current situation where 16 out of the 17 Service Chiefs are from a section of the country is not healthy for inclusivity in a multi-ethnic state. Our communities have for years cohabited peacefully with authentic Fulani herdsmen. There may have been frictions, but it never degenerated to the level of this satanic and wickedly orchestrated bloodletting. Sadly, the Muhammadu Buhari administration appears unaware of the scope of threat if we are to accept the president’s assertion that the marauding herdsmen are elements from Libya or it is just criminally negligent. How can the President justify encouraging the people of Benue and all other communities that have been at the receiving end of these murderous attacks to “live in peace with their neighbours” when the so called neighbours, according to him, are foreign elements and innocent citizens are being slaughtered like cows while the president and his now confirmed incompetent security chiefs fold their arms. President Buhari needs to be reminded just in case he has forgotten the oath of office that he took, that the primary responsibility of government is the protection of lives and property.
10.  As we move towards the 2019 elections, there are accumulated indications that there are efforts to rig the elections which Nigerians must be vigilant to and thwart. Apart from keeping the current Service Chiefs who ought to have retired, for inexplicable reasons, we have fears that the INEC may not be able to deliver free and fair election as the bug of nepotism and sectionalism that this Administration is renowned for has also eaten up the leadership of the Commission. From 1960 till date, only President Muhammadu Buhari has been audacious to pick only people who are either his relation or of the same ethnic stock with him to lead the Electoral Body. The Balewa Government, headed by a Northerner, appointed Prof Eyo Ita Esua from the South who was in charge of Federal Electoral Commission from 1960-66. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, a Yorubaman set up the Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO) under Michael Ani (1976-1979). President Shehu Shagari, from the North, appointed Victor Ovie-Whiskey (1980-1983) from Bendel State as Electoral boss. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) under Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (1987-1993), had Eme Awa (1987-1989), Humphrey Nwosu (1989-1993), Okon E Uya (June 1993-19th Nov.1993), all from South as Chairmen. The National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON), under Gen. Sani Abacha (1994-1998), had Chief Summer Dagogo Jack, from South-South, as Chairman. The Independent National Electoral Commission, under General Abdusalami Abubakar from the North (Central), had Justice Ephariam Akpata (1998-Jan 2000) from South-South, as Chairman. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, from the South West, appointed Abel Guobadia from South-South (2000-2005) and Prof. Maurice Iwu (2005-April 28, 2010) from the South East. When Dr. Goodluck Jonathan came in from South-South, he appointed Prof. Attahiru Jega from North West (June 2010-October 2015). It is only President Muhammadu Buhari who first appointed his relation from the North West, Mrs Amina Zakari as Acting Chairman when he became President in 2015 before he appointed Prof. Mahmood Yakubu from North East, as substantive Chairman.
11.  Our fear that the current INEC Chairman may not be able to discharge his functions impartially because of hailing from the same region as the President is not unfounded. Only recently, we saw scandal of underage voters during the Local Government Elections held in the North West State of Kano, a replay of the 2015 elections abnormally in large number. Responding to the public outcry of the saga, as INEC is the only body that registers voters, the INEC Chairman set up a Committee to look into this gross violation of our law which stipulates that only citizens 18 years and above can be registered to vote. As we address this Press Conference, the Chairman of INEC has refused to release the report of the committee. We therefore, strongly demand the replacement of the INEC Chairman with a man/woman of integrity from another zone in order to restore public confidence in the electoral body as it prepares for the 2019 elections. We call on the International Community to pay proper attention to all these, especially as the 2019 general elections draw near. They should also redirect Mr. President on the issues of rule of law and human rights.
12.  We are not happy that an innocent girl, Leah Sharibu, one of the abducted Dapchi girls, has remained in the captivity of Boko Haram due to her refusal to renounce her Christian Faith. We recall that the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed told the country that there were negotiations between the Government and Boko Haram that led to the release of the other girls. We therefore, challenge the Federal Government to release the contents of the negotiations and explain to us why the innocent Leah was negotiated out. We demand the immediate release of Leah and the remaining Chibok girls still in the custody of Boko Haram.
In conclusion, we advise Mr. President to shun pretence and be courageous enough to prosecute uncountable number of his cabinet members, appointees, followers, and stugees who have been fingered and alleged to have been involved in one corrupt practice or the other, in the name of fighting corruption or save us this distractive noise-making in the name of war against corruption. Else, we continue in our verifiable assertion of simply being tyrannically vindictive and nepotic. While we call on all Nigerian youths both at home and in the diaspora to remain calm and law-abiding and ensure our PVCs are secured as 2019 shall prove if Nigerian youths are “lazy” or not. Consequently, we vehemently and unequivocally demand that President Mohammadu Buhari resigns, having failed Nigerians in the discharge of his constitutional duties which its primary and prioritized obligation is to defend and protect lives and property of Nigerian in respective of religion, ethnic background, political leanings or tribes.  We believe in one indivisible, indissoluble, equitable, fair, just, united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria. God bless Nigeria.

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