The alarming trend of arson and assaults by thugs and supporters of political parties in recent time should be a serious cause for concern by any right-thinking Nigerian. Reports from various sections of the country have clearly indicated that the battle for control of governance at both the states and federal levels might not be restricted to the ballot boxes at the forthcoming general elections as top political actors particularly from the two leading parties, the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP and the opposing All Progressives Congress, APC are constantly engaging each other in a battle of supremacy in the acts of unprovoked verbal and physical attacks on each other. The orgy of violence being witnessed in those territories so regarded as hotbeds of politics across the country is a clear testimony to the height of desperation by contestants at the polls.
What initially began as common acts of thuggery in form of physical attacks and the use of dangerous weapons like machetes and guns against opponents, have now graduated into arson and bombing. Just few days ago, the secretariat of the APC in Rumueme in the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State was bombed. The reported attack by gunmen on APC supporters travelling down to the campaign ground of the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammad Buhari in Port Harcourt during which many people were seriously injured. The campaign buses for the PDP were also reported to have been set ablaze by a group of irate youths somewhere within the city of Jos.
All these put together, one thing is clear and that is; the much desired and anticipated free, fair, peaceful and credible election is in serious danger unless steps are urgently taken to nip this frightening development in the bud.
The hope of the generality of patriotic Nigerians for a peaceful swearing-in of victorious candidates at the end of the exercise might turn out to be a mirage after all – may God forbid.
The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) hereby condemns in the strongest term, this disturbing trend of barbarism, brigandage and utter lawlessness now pervading our political landscape. Unsavoury comments and unguided utterances by leading political actors against opponents have been discovered to be largely responsible for this rather worrisome development.
Names calling, baseless and unsubstantiated scandals and outright abuses of the persons of opponents by these leaders are undisputedly having their bandwagon impacts on their supporters who now choose to carry the battle further to do the bidding of their masters. We are particularly worried that if things are allowed to go on at this rate, it might be difficult, if not impossible, for any potential voter to come out on the day of election to carry out his civic duty in an atmosphere of violence and insecurity to life.
Therefore, while calling on the Federal Government to do everything possible including putting the necessary machinery in motion to stop this dangerous trend without delay, our call also goes to all the political parties concerned, especially those taking the lead, to eschew reckless and incisive statements capable of causing chaos and disaffection but rather be issue-based in their campaign statements as is done in civilized climes.
The various security agencies should also be up and doing and be strictly professional in their duties by shunning any form of partisanship or favouritism in the discharge of their duties but uphold their tenets by defending and enforcing the law at all times.
Nigerians are patriotic, law-abiding and ever ready to cooperate with constituted authorities on national issues and so deserve nothing less than the preservation of their democratic right to choose their leaders without any form of molestation or coercion. Our leaders must realize that posterity is awaiting them and history would certainly have a befitting place for them.