Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja
The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) has called on the international community to sanction all the anti-democratic elements in Nasarawa State, including the Governor, Abdullahi Sule.
The CLO made the call yesterday in reaction to the actions of the Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule and some other notable people in the state, who are threatening the peace of the state as a result of the state governorship election petition tribunal which sacked the governor of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and gave victory to David Ombugadu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The CLO President, Igho Akeregha, urged influential countries to, as a matter of urgency, impose sanctions on Sule and Prof. Ishaya Tanko.
“The CLO on Wednesday (yesterday) petitioned the international community including 11 powerful countries to immediately impose strict sanctions and visa ban on the Governor of Nasarawa state, Abdullahi Sule and Professor Ishaya Tanko for their roles in the March 18 gubernatorial elections in Nasarawa State.
“The CLO therefore, demanded that appropriate sanctions should be meted to all individuals who played a role in subverting elections in the state to deepen and sustain democracy in the country.
“We therefore, request that you kindly activate the necessary legal organs in your respective countries to sanction and impose a visa ban on Governor Abdulahi Sule of Nasarawa State and Professor Tanko Ishaya, the INEC Returning Officer for the gubernatorial election in Nasarawa state for their roles in colluding to manipulate the election figures to favour Governor Abdulahi Sule.
“The CLO warned that it was time to rein in anti-democratic elements who are bent on sabotaging Nigeria’s democracy with impunity.
“The organisation has formally sent petitions to the government of the United States of America, the UK, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, China, Saudi Arabia, Australia , South Africa and the European Union through their Embassies in Nigeria to request immediate imposition of sanctions and visa ban on the Nasarawa State Governor and Prof. Ishaya Tanko, Vice Chancellor of the University of Jos, Plateau State for their roles in manipulating and subverting the governorship election results of March 18, 2023 in Nasarawa State,” the CLO said.
The CLO alleged that since judgment was given by the Election Petitions Tribunal nullifying the return of Sule as governor of the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and declaring Hon. David Ombugadu of the PDP as winner of the election, the sacked governor has been making statements capable of undermining the sanctity and independence of the judiciary and capable of threatening the unity of the country.
The group noted that the gubernatorial election in the state afforded Nasarawa people the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights to elect leaders of their choice in accordance with democratic tenets, alleging that Sule who has challenged the judgment on appeal was resorting to self-help through his utterances instead of waiting for the courts to decide his fate.
The CLO also berated Prof. Ishaya Tanko, the INEC Returning Officer for Nasarawa State who declared the results in favour of Governor Sule which has now been reversed by the Tribunal.
The civil rights group further said: “For us in the CLO and in accordance with our democracy and governance mandate, it is time to hold politicians and INEC officials who behave inappropriately to account for their actions.
“Bad behaviour cannot be rewarded with public office. Impunity must now be put down and perpetrators brought to justice. The international community must act now to save democracy.
“A day after the election on March 19, 2023, the CLO said the Independent National Electoral Commission had promised to declare the result of the governorship poll at 9am the following day which was March 20, 2023.
“However, for inexplicable reasons, the State Returning Officer, Professor Tanko Ishaya, the Vice Chancellor of University of Jos emerged five hours earlier than promised at 4am, while most people were still asleep and declared APC’s Sule winner. “According to Prof. Ishaya, APC’s Sule polled 347,209 votes to defeat PDP’s David Ombugadu whom he claimed scored 283,016 votes.
“This was followed by days of public rage and protests as the electorates accused Prof Ishaya of manipulating the results. Nasarawa state witnessed widespread turbulence over what the electorates saw as a rape of democracy.”
The group maintained that Nigeria is the biggest black democracy in the World and the most populated black nation on earth, adding that the country needs the support of the international community for its democracy to survive.
It warmed that the current reign of impunity by election riggers and manipulators must be put to an end in Africa so that the citizens will not seek alternative governance models.