Emameh Gabriel in Abuja
The Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has called on Nigerians to take actions in form of sending petitions to national and international bodies against electoral offenders.
The called was contained in a text on the state of the nation titled: Time to Halt Dangerous Slide in Our Democracy, read during a press briefing by the Executive Director of CHRICED Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi, yesterday in Abuja.
Ibrahim said the group deemed it necessary to speak in the “face of the current drift of the ship of the Nigerian state and given the climate of fear, anxiety and uncertainty, which now pervades our country, there can be no mistaken the fact that all is not well.”
He stressed that the 2023 elections provided Nigerians with an opportunity to reset the democratic process and enthrone good governance in their country, sadly, desperate political actors in many regions of the country prevented the free and seamless expression of the people’s supreme will.
He expressed shock that despite glaring evidences of various forms of infractions during the elections, backers and perpetrators of these act were still seen walking freely.
According to him, “We saw worrisome situations of organized criminal attempts to prevent eligible voters from exercising their democratic rights.”
“There were also cases of attacks on polling units and the destruction of electoral materials.
“Even journalists covering the elections were not spared, as some targeted media personnel were brutalised, and their equipment destroyed. These violations, to the extent that they affected Nigerians, require an immediate response from the authorities.
“CHRICED believe strongly that it is never too late to investigate, apprehend, and prosecute the brigands and their backers for the crime of violently subverting the vote of the Nigerian people.
“CHRICED is of the opinion that even if only one Nigerian is violently denied the right to exercise his/her right to vote, the Nigerian State owes that citizen the duty to ensure that the perpetrators of those acts of violent suppression of the vote are held accountable and brought to justice.
“Sadly, as we speak, the gang of criminals and thugs who assaulted and threatened voters on election day are still walking scot-free. Therefore, in the face of the blatant refusal of the State to take action against the perpetrators of all the criminal acts, which were committed on election day, CHRICED calls on citizens to take action in the forms of sending petitions to national and international bodies, especially where perpetrators of such acts have been properly identified
Ibrahim, however advised “that the key to resolving the plethora of problems confronting the country lies in ending impunity, instituting accountability, and mustering the political will to do what is right for the country.”
“Important mechanism for ensuring that the leadership responds to the requirements of the people is democratic accountability. If the State allows the kind of violent voter suppression and intimidation seen in our recent elections, it gives the rationale and initiative to anti-democratic elements,” he said.