The All-Nigeria Save Democracy Movement (ANSADEM) that petitioned the Senate against Senator Musiliu Obanikoro two weeks ago, gathered well meaning Nigerians and the media together at the Centre for Constitutional Governance (CCG), Ilupeju, Lagos, on Tuesday,March 3,2014 to launch the release of 200,000 DVDs of the ‘Ekitigate’ Video, discuss the state of democracy in Nigeria, the danger signals ahead of the forthcoming elections and the need for urgent collective mass actions by Nigerians.
The group described the abuse of the military at the Ekitigate scandal where the Nigerian Army was relegated to the role of an army of riggers and a Brigadier-General reduced to an errand boy of dubious politicians. More disturbing on this case, Adebayo said, was the silence of the Nigerian Army concerning the audio drama in Ekiti State. ANSADEM expressed dismay that the gladiators in the midst of Ekitigate Scandal are still in the corridors of power giving reference to the recent ministerial nomination of Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, the former Minister of State for Defence. And the fact that, President Jonathan has maintained a criminal silence over this anti-democratic mis-behaviour by his political errand boys is more disturbing and unfortunate.
The group urged the distinguished members of the Nigerian Upper Chamber to probe the audio and expose the involvement of Senator Obanikoro who should never be allowed to hold a public office again in Nigeria. The group decided to produce and distribute the EKITIGATE DVDs free to the Nigerian and international community like United Nations, AU, ECOWAS among others in order expose the anti-peoples’ mandate demons in our midst before they destroyed our hard-earned democracy…
Highlighting the dangers, Convener of the meeting, Comrade Adebayo M. Adebayo, stated that some troubling developments are emerging in the country’s political landscape and he called on civil society to wake up from their slumber and act out their role in the society as designated by the law. According to the ANSADEM executive, “The current situation demands a deliberate comprehensive intervention by the civil society as an impartial watchdog that can both bark and bite. It is not a time for “siddon look” syndrome that is a sign of self-defeatism nor is it a situation to be exploited for flirtatious endorsements of political pugilists who are themselves the reason for our country’s multifarious woes since the re-entry into civil rule in 1999.”
Among other issues pointed out was the postponement of the general election from February 14 and February 28, 2015 to March 28 and April 11, 2015. The group is alleging that the election can be postponed again to a further date or that it might not even hold at all. Also discussed was the publicly debated plan to sack the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, who, according to Comrade Adebayo, “is believed by most Nigerians to have performed far better than his predecessors and brought some credibility into our elections”. ANSADEM believes that sacking Prof Jega now will rob the 2015 general election of any credibility.
Further, ANSADEM expressed concern about the style of electioneering campaign employed by the two major gladiators representing the two major political parties in the country which is characterized more by character assassinations and childish exhibition of political maturity rather than it being national issues based. ANSADEM agreed that this style of electioneering campaign has nothing worthy of emulation for the Nigerian youths. “The utterances employed by spokespersons of politicians can be described as ‘irresponsible and toutish’. It took the media outburst and walk out on Dr. Doyin Okupe to tame him”; said Adebayo adding that the act by the journalists was commendable.
The intrusion of the military into the electoral process was also condemned and termed a threat to democratic institutions. Comrade Adebayo said, “The military has suddenly and dangerously become the determinant factor in our electoral destiny as to wield so much influence of force to decide when or whether elections can hold or not by simply saying “we are not ready, and you can only go on at your own peril.” The group termed this a military coup and as such demand for the prosecution of the current corps of service chiefs, the National Security Adviser and the Inspector General of Police (IGP).