The International Association for the Advancement and Defence of Human Rights (IAADHR) has called for non-interference, Equity, Fair play in 2023 APC Presidential Primaries. In a statement issued by the Founder and President of the rights group, Comrade Bature Johnson, he called for transparency of the entire process.
“Unfolding events in the nation, particularly on the political scene regarding the forthcoming All Progressive Congress party primaries and the implications of its conduct to the security and socio economic situations in Nigeria today, has prompted our responses and the inputs to ensure the best for the unity, progress and prosperity of our dear nation.
“The International Association for the Advancement and Defense of Human Rights, IAADHR. Is a nongovernmental organization, working to promote and defend human rights, dignity and self-worth of all, irrespective of religion, ethnicity, status or placement in life.
“Our past and present observations of the polity, advocacy and engagement had gone a long way to help checkmate some serious national issues that would have undermined national security, if we had not been so proactive. These vocation and call to national duty once again prompted our present response to the unfolding political situation in the country.
“In few days to come, the ruling party, the All Progressive Congress will conduct their presidential primaries in Abuja; this exercise will lead to the emergence of the presidential flag bearer of the party. Consequently, many presidential aspirants are vigorously jostling for the coveted presidential candidacy of the party.
“Much as we are not perturbed by the numerous numbers of the aspirants, we are deeply concerned about the transparency of the entire process and the increasing tendencies for some elements to manipulate and undermine the whole exercise in a brazen manipulation to foist their candidates against the spirit of equity, fairly play fairness and democratic choices and preferences.
“The recent national convention of the ruling party and the adoption of a consensus candidate against the aspiration, due preparation and contest of many well qualified party candidates, was a clear pointer to this sad and worrisome fact. Unfolding political scenario is again pointing towards the repetition of this antidemocratic and non- truly representative process.
“From the body language of President Muhammadu Buhari, there is an increasing tendency for him to want to adopt the previous strategy of adopting his preferred candidate at the last minutes towards the party primaries, whereby other capitulating contestant would be persuaded to step down and fall in place to support the anointed candidate.
“Also we saw increased political agitation by some presidential aspirants in an attempt to undermine a credible political process, realizing their low chances of clinching the presidential slot of the party; this ought not to be so. We also observe a political acquiescence by delegates to be railroad to go against their will in their intended political preferences, this remain the bane of our political underdevelopment.
“We observe the regrettable ways in which ministers manipulated the presidency after they had resigned their appointment only to return back without any sanction from Mr President. This is the greatest disdain and disrespect that can be done to the office of Mr President and the people of the country, whom they had taken for rides for so long.
“The implication for such an anti-people and antidemocratic process will be far reaching, not only on the party delegates that are representative of the people’s choice, but on every aspect of our national life, as the preferred candidates’ allegiance will be to the benefactor and not the entire nation and our national interests.
“Today, the nation is battling different types of challenges such as banditry, Boko Haram Insurgency, poverty, kidnapping, economies comatose, guinea pigs policies- that are snuffing life out of ordinary Nigeria citizens.
“The truth of the matter is that many of them emanated from our culture of gross impunity, legal somersault, injustice, inequity, bad governance and judicial emasculation and corruption. To refuse to address these is to continue to heighten the challenges that the nation is passing through today.
“The present sad state of the nation calls for a tough measures to address it and make life more meaningful to the entire citizen. It calls for a deep and divine introspection on the side of President Muhammadu Buhari to rise above any primordial considerations and work to transparently ensure robust, credible and acceptable party conventions, leading to the emergence of a widely acceptable candidate in few days to come.
“Citizens must be carried along to reduce the increasing incidences of voters apathy; they should also be allowed a say in choosing who will be the presidential aspirants in a party primaries, this will go a long way to promotes accountability, make votes counts, deepen our democratic practices, reduce the incidence of money politics, God fatherism and give all citizens a sense of belonging and ownership of the whole political process.
“The presidency of Nigeria is not exclusively preserved for any tribe or religion, or the assumption of the exalted position of the president of Nigeria the heritage of any person or interest groups. To stick to and obstinately refuse the devolution and rotation of political power is to continue to enhance all the factors that enlarge our faulty line as a nation and further heightens the myriads of challenges and the centripetal and centrifugal tendencies that had in the past decades and present, continues to undermine us as a nation, driving us to a point of precipice.
“Every aspirant must thus work hard to secure a deserved placements or slots in the forthcoming primaries. Our national polities must be steered away from religious and ethnic influences so as to get the best for the nation.
“The fact is no part of the country that is not marginalized in one way or the other, yet we must give credence to those who can deliver and not who can rise to the top through the manipulation of our fault lines. If not, the Hausa will also lay more claims to the presidency for they have not had it again since 1976 after the death of Late Murtala Mohammed.
“The North east will lay claim to it that they have not had it at all, while the North central will lay claim to the fact that the region has it in military dispensation.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to allow for a free, fair, credible, and transparent presidential primaries of the party, which will lead to the emergence of preferred, acceptable. respected, and patriotic candidates, that majority of the party members will be proud of and may eventually command the preference and choice of tens of millions of Nigerians If such a candidates is eventually presented to all Nigerians in the forthcoming presidential elections.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari in the name of the unity of our nation and sake of posterity, not to display a preference or choose any candidate, but instead allow each of them to fight for the slot through transparent presidential primaries.
“To let everybody fight for the ticket, using their track record of service, their inputs to national development and every positive good will they have generated across the nation over the years.
“We call on Mr President to without delay sanction Ministers that returned back to office after their public resignation. We call on all party delegates to be patriotic and fair enough to enthrone a new era in our nation’s history, through a right and patriotic choices.
“We also call on all Nigerians to increase their participation in the political process, to strive to hold their elected representatives accountable and strive to mitigate or eliminate all policies and factors that promote electoral apathy and violence“.
Comrade Bature Johnson is the President of International Association for Advancement and Defense of Human Right (IAADHR) and he wrote in from Abuja, Nigeria.