Presidency - UK Group Condemns Zonal Agitations

Presidency - UK Group Condemns Zonal Agitations

Postby Richard Akindele » Mon Jul 24, 2006 5:20 pm

The Nigerian Project (TNP), a UK based Nigerian think-tank over the weekend strongly condemned what it called the present anti-democratic agitations across Nigeria for the selection of a Nigerian President based on zonal or geographic considerations.

Meanwhile, Nigerians based in the European Union (EU) have kicked off a survey on the acceptability of the presidential candidates in the 2007 elections

In a press statement made available to THISDAY and signed by Chief Bimbo Roberts Folayan, Chairman, TNP, UK and General Secretary, Omusa Baba Ohyoma, the group warned that the present campaign if not stopped, will have far reaching implications for the country.

TNP, the largest UK-based Nigerian group which supports the candidacy of former military President Ibrahim Babangida warned that the "present agitation across the country raises important moral and political issues in a far-reaching way; In particular, we like to emphasize the principles of non-discrimination and equality under the law, a violation of which serve to define significant limits on the development of democracy and its institutions."

The statement read in part: "We will like to warn that this present campaign if not stopped, will have far reaching implications for our country, Nigeria.

"As the largest Nigerian organisation in the United Kingdom, with membership from all the states of Nigeria, we are deeply concerned that our politicians are once again compromising the important gains which the country has made since this new democratic dispensation.

"We will like to state that as responsible citizens with equal stake in the Nigerian project, we will not fold our hands and allow unprincipled politicians plunge the nation into crisis as in the past," the release read in part.

The group further reminded politicians that a South South, South East or Northern President is both undemocratic and unacceptable. Any President elected under that kind of arrangement will certainly be unacceptable to Nigerians in the Diaspora or at home. It is certain that such an arrangement can only produce an inferior President.

Speaking with THISDAY, from Brussels over the weekend in a related development, Dr. Peter Omegbei said the survey which EU-based Nigerians have resolved to undertake is a poll on the ratings and public acceptability of all the presidential candidates and disclosed the exercise would be scientific and made public.

According to Omegbei, the exercise would enable Nigerians judge and decide who to vote for.

His words: "What we are doing is a critical approach to ;politics in Nigeria. It has never been so before now. We want to contribute our own quota to the development of democracy in our country. That is why this scientific survey is being done.

"Its outcome will be published in all national newspapers in Nigeria and international media in Europe. We have had a stunted growth because of the local quality of leaders we have always had. Now is the time to say no to thieves, no to illiterates who don't understand the 21st Century development model that drives growth all over the world.

"So far, we would be fair to all. But we are concerned with only those who have expressed c ear interest in running for the presidency in 2007.

"People like General Ibrahim Babangida, Brig-General Buba Marwa, Gov. Victor Attah, Prof Pat Utomi, Gov. Peter Odili, SenatorUdo Udoma, General Muhammadu buhari, Gov. Makarfi and Gov. adamu Abdulahi of Nasarawa State." Apart from the aforementioned, the present agitation across the country raises important moral and political issues in a far-reaching way; In particular, we like to,emphasize the principles of non-discrimination and equality under the law, a violation of which serve to define significant limits on the development of democracy and its institutions.

We will like to remind our countrymen and women that sometimes, the effort to rectify a violation of one right or principle often leads to practices that threaten or violate the other.

Besides, the use of the terms, North Central, North East, North West, South - East and South- South or South-West is synonymous with ëlegal citizensí of those geographic areas which is revelatory of a jingoistic mindset, which casts the real issue of legality (citizens and legal aliens versus illegal aliens) as an issue of ethnicity, as neither an Hausa man born and bred in the South -South will be allowed to represent the South -South nor will an Ijaw man born and bred in the North be allowed to represent the North. We have to state that the world has moved away from these backward considerations.

Our country must join the league of civilised and progressive survereign nations with long standing pedigree of democratic practices and elect our leaders on the basis of their politics, policies and demonstrable track record plus their vision to take Nigeria to greater heights. Above all, the next Nigerian leader must be like the outgoing President Olusegun Obasanjo, a strong and detribalised individual with genuine interests in reforms and the indivisibility of Nigeria.

We will like to seize this opportunity to state that The Nigerian Project (TNP) UK, supports the candidacy of President Ibrahim Babangidaas the next president of Nigeria on the basis that he is the best man to continue with the reforms of the Present government and not because he is from North Central. We strongly believe that he is the only man capable of keeping Nigeria together after President Obasanjo.

We implore all patriotic Nigerians to canvas similar arguments about their favourites and talk less of ethnic origins.

Our members will work with other progressive individuals to promote a civilised approach to the electioneering process and ensure that the best man emerges the next President of Nigeria.

This Day
Richard Akindele
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