Chief Emeka Anyaoku in a timely appeal, warns the Federal Government and INEC of the inherent dangers of flawed elections
As our country is preparing for General Elections in just over two week’s time, I have three observations to address to our Nigerian government and to INEC, the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The first is that Nigeria’s friends and the international community as a whole, are watching the behaviour of the Federal Government and its agencies including, especially, the police, the army and other law enforcement instruments, to see how far they respect the country’s Constitution, the ruke of law snd the inherent obligation to act impartially and fairly in playing their roles in respect of the elections.
From my long experience with international politics , I must warn that no country can be an island unto itself, especially in our increasingly globalising world. Therefore, our Nigerian government, like all other governments over the world while, of course, guarding its sovereignty, should pay heed to the views of the international community, otherwise the country would return to the pariah status which it happily exited in 1999, when it once more embraced democracy.
My second observation is directed to INEC. INEC had earned deserved compliments for its commendable handling of the last gubernatorial elections in Anambra and Ondo States. But it must be admitted that it attracted criticisms for its conduct of the subsequent, similar elections in Ekiti and Osun States. I urge INEC to remain aware of the fact that the credibility of the results of our forthcoming National Elections will depend on the level of impartiality and transparency it demonstrates in ensuring that all aspects of the elections are free and fair, thereby making the results to truly represent the will of the Nigerian citizens. Indeed, the image and standing of our country, within the international community, will be significantly affected by how INEC and the Federal Government, as a whole, are seen to behave in all matters relating to the elections.
My third observation is on the current deplorable, debasement of the sanctity of human life in our country. Last September to the end of November, I was in Harare, serving on a high-level Commission of Enquiry which the President of Zimbabwe had felt compelled to appoint, following the death of six nationals in a protest that occurred after the country’s National Elections. The death of six persons was considered a national tragedy and that aroused deep concern throughout the country. But what happens here in our country, Nigeria? We hear and read virtually everyday, in the media, of the killings of people in their 10s, in their 20s and, sometimes, even more than 20s and the government and the people seem not to be reacting commensurably to the situation.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to conclude with a comment on the general issue of governance. Judged by all the relevant indices Nigeria, today, is clearly under-performing and lacking national cohesion as never before. And so, like Cato, in the ancient Roman Senate who, because of his passionate desire to subjugate Carthage, the then archrival of Rome, always ended every speech he gave in the Senate with the words, “Cartago delenda est,” meaning, Carthage must be destroyed.
I would like, like Cato, to end these my remarks by once again repeating the view that I have expressed on many occasions, namely, that if our country is to succeed on the road to political stability and realisation of its rich, development potential, it must, by restructuring its present governance architecture, return to the true Federalism that this country practiced in the years before the military intervened in our national politics.
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
Text of speech delivered at the 70th anniversary of the Nigerian Tribune Newspapers by the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations, Tuesday, 29th January, 2019.