Civil society organisations in Nigeria are decrying again the totality of the Buhari regime which has been in power since May 2015. The 32 civil society organisations across the entire country delivered a verdict of moral decay, hollowing out of the democratic space and contravention of decency by the political parties without let in a press statement in Abuja. It is published below for the records:
The undersigned members of Nigeria’s civil society make the below statement borne out of our collective responsibility to Nigeria’s fledgling democracy and awareness of the millions of long-suffering Nigerians.
We have watched with disbelief the misrule of the past seven years. Nigerian communities have become killing fields, while the leaders most of the time are holidaying in foreign countries. University education and health care system has been systematically crippled by the nonchalance of ministers and administrators. Meanwhile, university students that dared to speak out have been declared state enemies that must be crushed. In addition, vocal civil society groups and advocates are gagged for speaking out. For those not too young, our recent experiences over the last seven years are sad reminders of the dark days of the back-to-back military dictatorships that reigned terror on Nigerians, clawed back on fundamental rights, and used fear to gag free speech and curtail fundamental freedoms of the people.
In 2015, Nigerians elected the present administration at the centre on its avowed moral rectitude. Today, however, it is not in doubt for any keen observer that the soul of politicians and leaders under this administration are totally disconnected from this nation. This administration which promised Nigerians to be humane, feel their pain, and enact laws and policies to advance their interests, has turned against the people. It is feeding them stones where they are hungry. Inflicting them with more pain where they are crying and poisoning their field with blood and anguish where they toil. And sleeping while agents of death and wickedness kill and maim women, elderly, children, and the young in the sleep and burn entire communities under cover of the night. All this is under an administration that claims moral superiority over its predecessors.
As if all the above is not bad enough, the ruling All Progressive Congress, the ruling government party, announced an N100million nomination fee for the office of the President. As if in competition, the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, followed suit, announcing a nomination fee of N40million for the President. Nomination fees for governorship elections are N50m and N21m respectively under the two parties. N20m and N2.5m for the senate, and N10m and N1.5m, respectively, for a federal House of Representatives seat. In the last count, about 40 persons have picked up the N100 million nomination tickets under the APC, for a total of about N4billion. The nominees are mostly career politicians with no history of private entrepreneurship or beneficiaries of wealthy estates bequeathed by rich parents. What manner of politicians would invest over $240,000 equivalent in party nomination with the intention to serve?
This shameful act puts the final lid on any hope of participation for young Nigerians. It announces the displacement of democracy in our country by plutocracy and seals the door finally against any window for rigorous intellectual input into governance and policymaking in Nigeria. This action has paved way for increase in money politics and created room for unbridled political corruption.
This government still has a chance to salvage its battered image. The government needs to apologize to Nigerians for deceiving them. This administration sold an empty moral capital to the people! Today, it has shown itself morally bereft. Second, there is the need to immediately sack and commence an investigation of all ministers and political appointees that have bought forms to contest elections without resignation which is in contradiction of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended.
When the head of an institution that will be responsible for safeguarding sensitive electoral materials, monetary and fiscal health of the county insist on contesting elections to make him a candidate for the highest political position while still in office is not only absurd but ethically reprehensible and insane. According to Section 9 of the CBN Act, 2007, the apex bank governor must not venture into any other vocation while in office and must resign in writing to the President if he nursed such intention. It reads, “The Governor and the Deputy Governors shall devote the whole of their time to the service of the bank and while holding office shall not engage in any full or part-time employment or vocation whether remunerated or except such personal or charitable causes as may be determined by the Board and which do not conflict with or detect from their full-time duties…”
Similarly, to hear a Minister of the country recently captured boasting about making donations of 200 luxury cars to politicians and promising if need be to share jets is simply incredible! The likes of such political appointees have been a terrible stain on the image of this administration from the outset. If Nigerians were ever in doubt about the character of the administration, such utterances are constant reminder that the administration was not different those it succeeded and condemned.
Furthermore, those holding elective and appointive public offices must dedicate the remaining period in office to repair the terrible image and morals of this administration by genuinely working for Nigerians; fixing the many challenges facing the economy, and making democracy work for the people, other than the less than 1% ruling class that has cornered 90% of the country’s resources.
We hope this is not a tall order. But the ball is in the court of the President, Governors and others in positions of authority. Whatever they decide to do, Nigerians will not forget their legacy soon.
- Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)
- Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
- Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD)
- Zero-Corruption Coalition (ZCC)
- Partners on Electoral Reform
- African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL)
- National Procurement Watch Platform
- Praxis Center
- Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civil Education (CHRICED)
- Social Action
- Community Action for Popular Participation
- Borno Coalition for Democracy and Progress (BOCODEP)
- Global Rights
- Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE)
- Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA)
- Tax Justice and Governance Platform
- Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria
- Women In Nigeria
- African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD)
- Women Advocate Research And Documentation Centre
- Nigerian Feminist Forum
- Alliances for Africa
- Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa
- State of the Union (SOTU)
- Alliance for Credible Election
- Femi Falana Chamber
- HEDA Resource Centre
- Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution
- Organization Community Civic Engagement(OCCEN)
- Say NO Campaign—Nigeria
- Women In Media
- Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF)