‘Solution Is Difficult, But Not Impossible’
In the face of increasing pace of violence among opposition party members, many Nigerians have expressed concern that if not properly checkmated, it may have implications on the outcome of next month’s general elections. Politicians spoke to GODWIN IJEDIOGOR in Lagos and BRIDGET CHIEDU ONOCHIE in Abuja on the issue.
“WHAT comes to my mind is mad; mutually assured destruction! Some people are determined to win, whether the voters like it or not.
“To intimidate us is a task that must be done. Machiavellian principle of the end justifies the means is what is at play.
“History is a stupid study and must not be mentioned in the presence of the masterminds. If it were not so, Somalia, Iraq, Libya, Congo, to mention a few would have made sense to them.
“Solution is difficult, but not impossible. A change of mentality will tell them that we are all on the part of destruction. Do-or-die politics should vanish from their minds.
“The law enforcement agencies should tackle this attempt to stigmatise them and enforce the law.
There is no alternative to this.”
-Godwin Uwazurike, Lagos-based lawyer
‘There’ll Be No Major Crisis If INEC Discharges Its Mandate Well’
“IF politics is who gets what, when and how, and election is a referendum exercise, then the fears being expressed are certainly not totally out of place, especially in our own clime, where there is virtually only one source of getting rich quick- crude oil.
“The President of Nigeria is the most coveted price in our electoral contest, for whoever wins the presidency automatically wields the crude oil signature.
‘This is why the presidential candidate of the ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, on the eve of the 2007 general elections, dubbed the contest a do-or-die affair. For some, it has remained a do-or-die battle, which resonates the echoes of violence.
“Those who express fears over rising violence are locating their fears on provocative pronouncements by some political gladiators, clergymen and sundry individuals.
“My humble submission is that if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) discharges its mandate credibly, there will no major crisis or even conflict.”
-Osita Okechukwu, Southeast APC spokesman
Implication of violence on the fragile security situation in the country:
‘We’ve To Send A Signal That We Can Manage Our Environment’
“EVERY Nigerian should realise that it will not do us good if the election ends in violence. It will affect everybody. It will affect the security situation, the economy and every other aspect of life, because Nigerians are all over the place.
“For instance, some people from the Southeast, who came home for Christmas holidays, have refused to go back for fear of attacks, and with the burning of campaign buses, party offices, houses and planting explosives in people’s homes, it is becoming too dangerous.
“For me, we have to support the government, rather than distance ourselves and expect government to do magic. As far as we have to be at the forefront of ensuring free and fair elections, we have to send a positive signal that we can manage our environment, irrespective of the situation.
“I, therefore, call on members of the opposition parties, my party members (PDP), as well as the youths to realise that if anything happens to this country today, we will all suffer it, because it will not affect only one group or political party. That is the reason all of us have to be very careful.
-Senator Emmanuel Anosike
‘Politicians Are Sponsoring Violence For Personal Interests’
“THE politicians are sponsoring these violence for personal interests. Otherwise, our people are ready for peace; Nigerians are ready to conduct elections under an atmosphere that is calm and will respect the right of every electorate.
“For us, it cannot cause more fear than it has already caused. In fact, Nigerians are now getting to understand the tricks that those who are trying to come to office at all cost are using and because of that, they are already prepared that when the elections begin, those who want to perpetuate violence should bring their children to do the fighting for them.
“Buhari has done a general plea, which we know will not go down to all his supporters, most of whom are at the grassroots level and even in the remote parts of the country.
“It would be properly put in place if Buhari can go to the Northeast and Northwest and organise a road-show for peace, that his supporters should respect peace.
“Such road show would be very popular, because the people we are talking about will be part of it and as the train moves, they will join.
“So, it is very important that we do all we can to see that after this election, Nigeria remains united.
“There is no party that upholds winning election through violence. The issue is with the people, who want to take power at all cost and we have been advocating that elective offices should be made less attractive.
“There is too much money involved and that is the reason this people are prepared to die when they are going into elections.
“But our people are becoming enlightened; they are becoming more aware and understanding of the tricks these people employ to perpetuate violence.
“Some people have come through religion, tribe and various other means, but all these are gradually coming to an end, because we are now understanding that at the end of the day, it is the man on the street that suffers.
“We must protect ourselves and understand that election is about mandate, votes and putting your votes for the candidate of your choice.
“We must protect this right for both the present generation and coming generations, so that whenever we stand, we continue to prosper and grow, because we can only do better when we are united.”
– Chief Peter Ameh, National Chairman of Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA)