Day by Day, hour by hour, there is increasingly a palpable fear, amidst a clash of hate language by the politicians, about the Elections.
We feel called upon to warn of the looming dangers and the need to avoid the potential cataclysmic eclipse.
Our politicians are exploiting our diversities to satisfy their lust for power. We encourage Nigerians to disregard their greed and lust for power and do all to ensure the preservation of Nigeria.
We are inspired by the recent statement of Omar Bagure, a patriotic Sierra Leonean, who has a warning to Nigerians, based on lessons drawn from the 11 year civil war of his country:
“I don’t think you (Nigerians) know what you are playing with. You can call each other names and laugh about it now but when you end up inciting hate… and a real civil war starts in your country you will regret what you are doing now. Your religious and political leaders are trying to divide you between religious lines and you are helping them do that rather than standing up and say we are all Nigerians, never mind our tribe, region or religion. That’s the only stand that will save your blessed nation. The foreign powers pushing the government to take certain decisions will abandon you when you start killing one another and reject you from running to their countries so be careful. Our 11 year war in Sierra Leone was not even based on religious or tribal difference and see what we did to our country. The worst conflicts are those based on tribal and religious differences. See Central Africa, Bosnia and Rwanda… Stand as one and save your nation together because you have only one Nigeria that has the potential to lead Africa”.
No Nigerian can afford to ignore Omar’s warning. We can only do so at our peril.
To avoid the looming eclipse means that we must denounce hate speech, hate conduct and violence by our politicians.
Civil society must exert pressure on law enforcement institutions to contain electoral violence.
The media is called upon to play a stronger role by refusing to carry negative campaign and hate speech.
We support the call of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that there is need for a public handshake between President Jonathan and Gen. Buhari in order to cool the overheated political temperature.
We advise the elite middle class (traditional rulers, leaders of industries, church leaders, labour movement, etc.) not to stand idly by and watch Nigeria go over the precipice.
It would be a terrible fall if this should happen.
Let all be warned that the so called international community would not come to our aid if anything were to go wrong.
Our charge to all Nigerians is to be fully alert and not allow politicians manipulate us.
However we want to cast our vote, we must be allowed to cast it in peace.
Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN
Senior Partner, Olisa Agbakoba Legal (OAL).
Dr. Wilfred Mamah
Development Law Consultant, OAL