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Nigeria presently underperforming by all indications — Anyaoku, Kukah

FORMER United Nations Secretary General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku and Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, yesterday, expressed concern over the deteriorating state of the country saying Nigeria is presently underperforming and lacks national cohesion.

They said this at the 70th anniversary of Nigerian Tribune Newspaper, with the theme: Democracy, political parties, electoral integrity and good governance, held in Lagos. In his address, Anyaoku said: “If our country is to succeed on the road to political stability and realization of its reach potential, it must be by restructuring its present governing architecture.

It must return to true federalism that was practiced in the years before military intervention in our national politics. “Because as of today, judging by all the relevant indices, Nigeria today is clearly underperforming and lacking national cohesion like never before. “Nigeria friends and international communities, as a whole, are watching the behavior of Federal Government and its law enforcement agencies especially the police and army to see how far they respect the country’s constitution, the rule of law and inherent obligation to act impartially and fairly in playing their role in respect to election. “From my long experience with international politics, I must warn that no country can be an island unto itself especially in our increasingly globalized world. Therefore, our Nigeria government while guiding its sovereignty should pay attention to the view of international community otherwise the country will return to dictatorship era which we exited in 1999 when we embrace democracy.”

He also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to be aware of the fact that the credibility of the forthcoming elections will “depend on the level of impartiality and transparency it demonstrate in ensuring all aspect of election are free and fair thereby making the result to truly represent the will of Nigeria citizen.” His words: “INEC was commended for the way they handled the governorship election in Anambra and Ondo States but attracted criticism for the conduct of subsequent similar election in Ekiti and Osun State.” Speaking on the topic Good Governance and Party Politics in Nigeria, Bishop Kukah called on President Muhammadu Buhari to retrace his steps in the ongoing controversy trailing the suspension of the embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

He said: “For the President, no one is infallible and what we have now is not a case of whether Chief Justice Onnoghen is innocent or guilty. The critical word is, process, right or wrong. It is not too late to retrace the steps and take the path of honour no matter where and how it all ends. This justice has to be seen to have been done. This is where backroom diplomacy comes in. It all does not have to be either or. There is a middle way, and the President has to find it. The whole of Nigeria is his constituency, not the APC or his powers as President.

His duty is to keep the country steady and on the right path. It is still daylight and we can find the black goat before the sun finally sets.” On the forthcoming elections, the fiery cleric urged Nigerians to take a critical look at the various contenders before casting their votes. He said: “So, as the elections approach, do yourself one favour. You have listened to all the promises that have been made, the ones kept, hurriedly or strategically. Do not get carried away. On Election Day, before heading for the polls, take a look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself: Am I looking better than I was last year? Do I look healthier? Do I feel more secure? What do I want for my family? Which candidate or Party

Protest is honourable. We must embrace the culture of Protest. In the Year 2011, TIME Magazine made the Protester Man of the Year! So, creeping totalitarianism and tyranny, whether seen as assault on individual liberties, muzzling of the media or attack on the Opposition, must be resisted. The face of tyranny is often couched in innocence. There have been attacks on the Media and disobedience of the Courts as we can see in the cases of Sambo Dasuki or El Zakzaky whose detentions several Courts have declared illegal. The Government has continued to act in disobedience. Now, they have broken into and desecrated the Supreme Court to install their own Chief Justice. Who will be next? That is the central question we must face before darkness envelopes us.

The Rev. Martin Luther King said that a man cannot climb your back unless you bend it. offers the best opportunity for me to improve my conditions and become a better person, a better and proud citizen? These are the questions.” On his part, the Presidential candidate of Young Progressive Party, YPP, Prof. Kingsley Mughalu said: “Regardless of all the technicality in this matter such decision by the president is wrong and I am deeply worried about the future of this country because if we continue to be under the leadership we have today, we have no future. “If the leadership we have today continued to be in charged, our freedom is threatened because we will all soon become prisoners. So citizen of this great country need to rise up against the current APC government.”

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