We humbly wish to dedicate the security and safety of Nigeria and Nigerians so far following the conduct of the 28th March 2015 Presidential and NASS polls to the gallantry of the armed forces of Nigeria including the National Intelligence Agency and the Department of State Security Service. Our hope is that triggers capable of causing post election violence will remain bottled following the final announcement and declaration of results, their winners and losers.
We particularly and importantly thank and dedicate same to the people and voters of Southern Nigeria and the outgoing President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is important to observe that the way and manner the referenced people conducted themselves is far opposite of that of their northern counterparts. It is very correct to say that had the incumbent President been declared winner or in a verge of victory, the northern people and their political leaders would have started burning and destroying public and private properties and engaged in wanton destruction of innocent lives particularly those of other Nigerians. Their political leaders have already poised for widespread violence in the event they lost the polls. This is a clear demonstration of civility and tolerance on the part of the Southern People and Voters of Nigeria. The North must borrow a leaf from their Southern counterparts and shun group violence at all times no matter the circumstances.
The general conducts of the Southern voters during the polls are therefore resoundingly commendable. Despite the massive failure of card readers, late voter accreditation and voting occasioned by INEC’s gross incompetence and partiality, the referenced people still conducted themselves patiently and maturely and voted conscientiously at the end. Though many of them left the polling units following impatience and psycho-physical uncertainties, those that remained waited patiently and voted at the end. Apart from massive card reader failure, late voting accreditation and voting, the people of Southern Nigeria were also threatened psychologically by killer citizens and entities with imagined and real bomb blasts. There were instances of such in Abia, Anambra and Enugu States. Combination of these scared away millions of registered voters with PVCs. There are millions of others that INEC under Prof Attahiru Jega deliberately or technically denied their voting rights on account of not issued with PVCs.
The Southern people also responded maturely to fraudulent and widespread under age voting by their northern counterparts in the core north of at least seven States condoned by INEC. This they did by refusing to resort to self help or offensive group conducts, which would have been the order of the day in the north if it has become the case in the latter. We particularly thank the voters in Lagos State for voting conscientiously and courageously. With 792,000 and 632,000 vote ratio between the APC and the PDP in the State, it would have swayed upside down with wide margin if the over two million registered voters in the State denied PVCs by INEC were armed with PVCs.
The clear message expressly conveyed by the South-south and the Southeast voters with their brothers and sisters in Lagos and other places is that they have formed a resilient federal opposition bloc ready to contribute meaningfully in public governance in Nigeria in the next four years while at the same time declaring to the incoming North-Southwest bloc federal government that their social, ethnic and religious identities are not for a price and must not be questioned, threatened and undermined. After the expected mass defection of political traders, lepers and jobbers to the incoming federal government, the ground for formidable and forensic federal opposition will be laid by the referenced for the purpose of good governance and socio-political assertiveness and bargaining.
On the security roles played by the armed forces of Nigeria in the referenced polls, they deserve resounding commendation and are indeed commended. Interestingly, time has come for the new APC incoming federal government to show Nigerians favourable and alternative policies and actions over many public matters it vehemently opposed under the outgoing federal government. One of such key policies is its stern opposition to the use of armed forces in election security, which it caused judiciary to interpret in its favour Nigerians live to see the success or otherwise of its civilian poll securitization. At this juncture we call upon the outgoing Federal Government to withdraw its recent appeal against the referenced verdict of the Lagos division of the Federal High Court. Nigerians will see in coming months or years its success or otherwise of non-armed forces involvement in poll security. Others are also its stern opposition to present security policies towards insurgency and violent crimes. Another expected major policy change is the APC’s opposition to present economic policies particularly its promise to make One Naira exchanged for One US Dollar.
As the APC and its cronies in Nigeria’s rights CSOs and media dominant in the Southwest; takes over the federal government and shutting down its opposition advocacy industry in the country, there is need for new strong opposition in the CSOs, media and political circles in the country. This is because the fundamental implication of the APC and its referenced cronies taking over the federal government is that the Southwest media and the CSOs with their APC commanders have graduated into pro establishment entities. At the level of Intersociety, we have resolved to continue and improve our formidable rights CSO advocacy. As a matter of fact, we have resolved to serve as a formidable opposing independent rights group with forensic searchlight to be beamed towards the official and unofficial policies and conducts of the incoming federal government under APC with the purpose of making it sit up and collectively succeed for collective advantage of Nigeria and Nigerians.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Southeast Nigeria
Barr Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Head, Campaign & Publicity Department