Northern Leaders Raise Fears Over April Polls…Insist On Zoning, Accuse PDP Of Corruption
Leading political pressure group from the North, Northern Political Leaders Forum, NPLF has raised fears over the likelihood of a credible, free and fair elections in April even as it accused the ruling party, PDP of perverting the system.
The forum which members met in Abuja on Monday insisted on the right of the North to the presidency in April, warning that the PDP should be held responsible for whatever befalls the nation in the event that the next polls fail to produce credible leadership for the nation.
The communique issued at the end of its meeting in Abuja and signed by its leader, Adamu Ciroma reads:
“The Northern Political Leaders Forum met on Monday, February 14, 2011 in Abuja and took a comprehensive look at the nation’s political landscape, especially as it relates to the conduct of primary elections by Nigeria’s political parties.
“After thorough appraisal, the Forum has arrived at the sad conclusion that Nigeria’s politicians have not learned any lesson from our past and are about to repeat the same mistakes which brought political instability to the nation and stunted its political development. If the behavior of Nigeria’s political parties during the recent primary elections is anything to go by, then it is safe to assume that the quality of the forthcoming general election in April will make the discredited 2007 election seem credible, free and fair.
“In this regard, all the nation’s political parties must share responsibility but the largest proportion must go to the ruling party because of the level of impunity it exhibited especially in the following areas:
a. lack of internal party democracy characterized by sham elections at all levels and, where a semblance of election was held, the substitution of bona fide winners with losers or total strangers. This practice continued to the very last hour allowed by INEC.
b. total disregard of the constitution of the party and the law governing elections in a desperate bid to maintain the status quo
c. excessive corruption and financial inducement leading to the outright purchase of delegates, the naked display of wealth by public officers and their spouses and their open misuse of resources largely belonging to the public
d. violence and thuggery leading to political assassination of opponents as well as willful and blatant misuse of public office to intimidate, harass and deny perceived opponents their liberty and democratic rights
e. using security agencies and the judiciary to manipulate the electoral process in order to favour preferred candidates
2. With all of these and more taking place in the just concluded primary elections, one can only imagine what will happen during the general elections in April. The Forum calls on all political parties to call their members to order and urges the Independent National Electoral Commission to sanction all those found to be involved in subverting the nation’s democracy for personal political gain.
3. The Forum decries the failure of opposition political parties to occupy the moral high ground and to provide a viable alternative to the ruling party at this critical hour when Nigerians are sick and tired of more of the same. Only a viable opposition will arrest the nation’s political drift to a one-party state. Opposition parties must hold themselves
responsible if they fail to play their proper role in a democracy, even one as broken as our own.
4. The Forum wishes to restate its well-known position on the principle of zoning and rotation of public offices which all Nigeria’s leading political parties, except the PDP, have so far upheld. Nothing has taken place in the nation’s political arrangement to warrant any shift in the position of the Forum. The Forum therefore wishes to state categorically that it continues to believe in the propriety of its cause until justice is done.
5. The Forum decries the state of insecurity in the country, especially in Akwa Ibom, Borno, Edo and Plateau States and calls on the authorities to rise up to their responsibilities of protecting the lives and properties of citizens. A situation whereby human life can be taken at will without sanction or punishment is a situation of anarchy which, if left unchecked, can easily destabilize the entire country.
6. Finally, the Forum wishes to reassure all Nigerians of its commitment to the unity, peace, and stability of the country based on the principle of justice, equity and rule of law and calls on all Nigerians irrespective of sectional, ethnic or religious affiliation to resist the appeal of temporary gain and continue to stand for what is right.”