The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre notes with grave concern, the outbreak of violence that has accompanied the Presidential elections of April 16, 2011. This spate of violence which has resulted in the destruction of lives and property is condemnable and rejected in the strongest of terms.
We also reject that attempt to give what is clearly a politically motivated reaction by yet to be identified people, an ethnic and religious coloration, thereby introducing divisive tendencies that constitute a threat to our unity and nationhood at this critical period of our national life and create a barrier to our collective efforts at nation-building.
We commend the statement credited to General Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the CPC, on whose behalf this violence is purportedly perpetrated, in which he rejected the violence and dissociated himself from its perpetrators. We also commend the statement of the president-elect, Dr Goodluck Jonathan calling for restraint and reiterating that no individual’s political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian citizen.
We acknowledge the rights of anyone who feels aggrieved by the outcome of this or any other elections to protest and challenge it. We however believe that this must be channeled though legitimate means that will neither lead to the breakdown of law and order nor jeopardize the lives of innocent citizens.
We call on security agencies to take all necessary means to stem this unfortunate situation. They must however avoid unnecessary, arbitrary and disproportionate use of force and display a high level of professionalism in their conduct and adopt measure of law enforcement that conforms to international best practice. This is to ensure that innocent citizens, especially defenseless women and children do not become unwitting victims.
CISLAC calls on Nigerian citizens, well meaning Nigerians, political, religious, community leaders to intervene by prevailing on their constituencies to refrain from doing anything that will lead to avoidable loss of lives and property and threaten our efforts at nation-building and establishing national cohesion that will facilitate development and enhance the welfare of our teeming population.
We enjoin members of the political class to develop the spirit of sportsmanship, learn to accept the outcome of elections and not consider political offices as a do-or-die affair. This is important considering that we have another round of elections next week. Where aggrieved they must cultivate the practice of patronizing the legal frameworks established rather than inciting their followers to resort to self help.
CISLAC calls on the media to be balanced, objective, analytical and responsible in its reportage and emphasize the value that unite us over and above those that tend toward division and disunity.
CISLAC calls on his Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan and the new government to ensure that all forms of injustice, imbalance and corruption within the electoral process and government are addressed. CISLAC also calls on the incoming administration to ensure that anticorruption, transparency, accountability, justice and equity are made integral components of the new administration.
The administration must develop systems and institutions that are inclusive, participatory, robust and pragmatic to ensure that Nigeria remains united and our diversity is concerted into strength. This is necessary for peace and confidence building without which democracy cannot thrive and development achieved.
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)