February Polls: Civil Societies Want End To Hate Speeches
Warn APC Against ‘Parallel Govt’ Threat
CONCERNED about the growing tension occasioned by the type of language used by certain politicians ahead of the February elections, 21 leading civil society organizations (CSOs) have come together to demand an end to hate speeches.
In a joint press release issued in Abuja Friday, the major non-state actors condemned in strong terms what they described as “reckless and inflammatory” statements by some politicians.
The statement was circulated by the Media Relations Officer at the West Africa Civil Society Forum (WACSOF-Nigeria), Uche Madueke, and signed by heads of the 21 different organizations.
The groups reviewed the recent peace accord signed by leading candidates in the upcoming elections and implored them to respect the pact, urging them and their supporters to be civil and courteous during campaigns.
“The value of such an accord is however not in the signing but in keeping to the letters and words,” the groups said.
The statement noted: “We are concerned about the series of reckless and inflammatory statements as well as hate speech coming from some members of the political class. For example, on January 19, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State sponsored an advert in three national dailies suggesting that if elected into office, Muhammadu Buhari of the APC might die in office. He had photographs of three previous heads of state from the North West who died in office and a question mark on the photo of Buhari. Publishing a ‘death wish’ for your political opponent is completely unacceptable and we condemn it.
“For the second time, a high-ranking official of the All Progressive Congress (APC), this time, its National Chairman, has repeated the statement that the party will form a parallel government if the 2015 elections are rigged. It was the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Ameachi, who first made this statement.”
It went on: “Also in his recent statement, Asari Dokubo’s statement that ‘election results are known and there will be war if not accepted’ not only impugned of the credibility of INEC but also gives credence to the equally reckless statement by the APC that elections are already rigged.
Such statements coming from highly placed politicians are dangerous as they are capable of mobilizing citizens and catalyzing them to taking unconstitutional actions of ‘serve yourself’ type even before the elections are conducted.”
The groups flayed the comments as “unwelcome in the context of our commitment to furthering and deepening of the rule of law” and urged politicians and all Nigerians to be law abiding and believe in the laws and due process.
The joint statement was signed by Y. Z. Ya’u of the Centre for Information Technology And Development(CITAD), Uche Wilson Dureke, Centre for Peace across Boarders, Dr. Hussiani Abdu, Action Aid Nigeria, Dr. Abiola Akinyode -Afolabi, Women Advocates’ Research and Documentation Center (WARDC), Saudatu Mahdi, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative, (WRAPA), Isah Garba, BACIPEM, Bauchi, Saludeen Hashim, West Africa Civil Society Forum (WACSOF-Nigeria), Anya Okeke, State of African Union (SOTU), Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Ezenwa Nwagwu, Partners on Electoral Reform.
Others are Jaye Gaskiya, Protest to power movement, Idayat Hassan, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Lukman Adekunle, Zero Corruption Coalition (ZCC), Dr. Godwin Ojo , Environmental Rights Action (ERA), Gen.Ishola Williams, Pan-African Strategic and Policy Research Centre (PANAFSTRAC), ZIK Ibrahim, Resource Centre For Human Rights& Civil Education (CHRICED), Bilkisu Yusuf, Advocacy Nigeria, ZIK Ibrahim, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), John Odah, Abuja Collectives, Abuja, Ezenwa Nwagwu, Say No Campaign, Emma Ezeazu, Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE), Chido Onumah, African Centre.