The spate of events over the last week portends grave danger. Impunity is the order of the day, given free reign by the federal government which at the same time seeks an extension of the state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States, in its knock-kneed attempts to reinstate “law and order”.
In the midst of all these contradictions, less than 3 months to the general elections, the military and police have been flexing muscles with public statements in several states (and a road show in Rivers state with a convoy of vehicles filled with armed policemen), claiming they will be impartial to all parties in ensuring peaceful and transparent elections.
It is very significant and worrisome that all these are taking place against the backdrop of the announcement that Nigerians should brace up for austerity measures due to dwindling oil revenue.
United Action for Democracy’s position at this pregnant moment is:
1. UAD categorically rejects any further extension of the state of emergency in the war torn northeast zone, for several reasons:
After a year and half, it is quite clear that the ill-thought-out state of emergency has been a monumental failure politically and militarily, while economically, it has become a conduit pipe for public funds into the pockets of the army’s top brass and politicians;
Behind the call for extension of the state of emergency, loud drumbeats for the further curtailment of constitutional order can be heard in the recent call for “full state of emergency” by the Congress for Equality and Change which wants “all democratic institutions…suspended to permit the military exercise full control until peace and order returns”;
With the influence of key members of this Congress on those in the corridors of power, this anti-democratic demand, might very well be a pointer at what extension of the state of emergency if allowed, might be leading us to;
Peace can be restored in the northeast only on the basis of justice, and primarily through the power of the self-organised activities of the working people as the Civilian JTF and local hunters have clearly demonstrated.
2. UAD strongly condemns the Federal Government’s reign of impunity, hypocrisy and double standards in the use of the coercive apparatus of state:
The tragi-comic drama at the National Assembly where members of the House of Representatives were tear gassed and had to scale closed gates to gain access into the National Assembly, is one more element of a disturbing trend of authoritarianism. The Federal Government’s assertion that the police acted in order confirms its warped sense of the much vaunted “rule of law”. This despicable manipulation of the police for the ends of the People’s Democratic Party is observable in all tiers of governance;
Ekiti state is an example of this fact. While police officers could not be mobilised to secure the court premises during the Ekiti State gubernatorial elections tribunal proceedings, 300 police officers were at hand to secure 7 members of the 28-member Ekiti State House of Assembly when they allegedly impeached the speaker (a member of the opposition All Progressives Congress), and elected a “new speaker”;
3. The Finance Minister’s announcement of impending austerity measures is clearly a signal to the working people that our bad situation is about to get worse. Cuts in public expenditure will have adverse effects on the delivery of social services and the implementation of Collective Agreements reached with trade unions. This will definitely be resisted and the ruling class appears uncertain of how wide reaching the mass protests and revolts such resistance would give birth to, could go;
4. Based on the curious developments unfolding, and the bosses’ fear of mass upheavals against austerity measures, UAD is of the view that influential sections of the ruling class might be consciously working towards establishing a scenario of “anarchy” to justify a coup d’état, in the eventuality of their failing to “seize” or maintain their hold on the reins and purse strings of state by February 2015, and to perfect repression of revolts against an austerity regime. Conversely, but which essentially amounts to the same thing, the ruling class as a whole is dancing a macabre dance similar to that of 1983 when their short sighted, self-centred actions in the quest for power, led to anomie, and coup d’état which brought General Muhammad Buhari to power during a period of austerity measures;
5. United Action for Democracy will NOT stand by and watch the ruling class unleash further economic attacks against the mass of poor people, or continue to undermine the country’s democratisation, limited as it is which was won through the struggles waged by workers, poor farmers, youth and other change-seeking Nigerians against military dictatorship in the twilight of the 20th Century. We will stand by the working class and mobilise the popular masses to resist impunity, austerity and any putsch. We will not rest until we change this system which makes the rich richer, and the poor poorer.
United Action for Democracy (UAD)
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