- Category: April 2011 Polls
- Published on Wednesday, 20 April 2011 06:45
- Written by Admin
- Hits: 1933
Violence broke out in some states, notably Gombe and Adamawa States, on Sunday afternoon as results were coming in from the previous day’s election, and soon spread to at least ten Northern states. Offices as well as houses of chieftains of the ruling PDP were torched, as were the houses of prominent emirs. Scores of people died and hundreds of people were injured in the riots. The rioters alleged that the polls were rigged in many states and they accused some emirs of collaborating with PDP.
Speaking on the violence yesterday (listen to the speech), Buhari, who was the presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change [CPC] in the elections, said, “In the last 24hours, there has been a spate of violence across certain parts of the country. What started mainly as a political protest reportedly included the burning of worship places. This is a sad, unfortunate and totally unwarranted development.
I must say that this is a dastardly act is not initiated by any of our supporters and therefore cannot be supported by our party.
I would therefore like to seize this opportunity to disassociate myself and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) from any such act. I must emphasize that this is purely a political matter, and it should not in any way be turned into an ethnic, religious or regional one.” The statement was signed by his spokesman Yinka Odumakin, but Buhari was heard reading it on the BBC.
In a statement signed by Prof Ishaq Oloyede, NIREC National Coordinator on behalf of its Co-chairmen, Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad and Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, NIREC expressed disappointment and shock over the outbreak of violence and urged the perpetrators to stop immediately.
“Disagreement is natural and is one of the ingredients of democracy, but resorting to violence is a travesty of our religious teachings and a betrayal of our claim to faith. NIREC implores all Nigerians to always explore constitutional means of seeking redress whenever they are aggrieved rather than take law into their own hands,” Oloyede said.
Quoting from the Holy Qur’an 5 verse 32, he said, “If anyone killed a person…, it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all of mankind.” He said NIREC and other civil society groups in the country are ready to mediate in the crisis through dialogue and negotiation.
He said, “We should not allow our political differences to divide us along ethnic and religious lines. They are simply political and should be so treated.
Let us play democracy according to the rules so that we do not bring the building upon ourselves.” NIREC also called on political leaders to exercise restraint in their actions and utterances while governments at all levels should be alive to their responsibilities.
Former military President Ibrahim Babangida also spoke yesterday, calling for a halt to the killings that followed Saturday’s presidential election. He called on “all Nigerians to shun primitive and uncivilized conducts such as violence, religious intolerance, killings in the name of politics, and maiming innocent and helpless Nigerians.” He said Nigerians “must continue to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship in our politics, togetherness in our national aspirations, and unity as one nation under God.”
In the statement signed by his media aide Prince Kassim Afegbua, the former military ruler congratulated General Muhammadu Buhari of CPC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu of ACN and Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau of ANPP “for their untiring efforts and high-spiritedness before, during and after the conduct of the Presidential elections.” Babangida congratulated President Jonathan for his victory, saying that his victory should be seen not only as a collective victory for the country’s fledgling democracy, but also an opportunity to further cement the democratic foundation of the country.
He said, “The victory should afford President Jonathan the opportunity to rally round his colleague candidates at the elections, with the aim of building robust relationship amongst them for the interest of their supporters and the nation.
“This moment calls for deeper reflections about our unity and stability of our dear country. It presents an opportunity for President Goodluck Jonathan to make the right choices and forge the right ties. It presents a good opportunity for him to choose the right calibre of Nigerians with the requisite experience and know-how that would help him drive the governance process in order to fully achieve the central purpose and responsibility of government.
“Rather than select his cabinet members on the basis of political party affiliation, political I-owe-you, and the usual patronage politics, he should be circumspect enough to select a cabinet structure made up of highly experienced, resourceful, result-driven, and patriotic Nigerians on the basis of merit, competence and balancing. That way, he will be able to pursue his campaign promises with equanimity of purpose, and overcome some of the developmental challenges confronting us as a nation,” he added.
He hailed the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Mohammed Jega, “for his tenacity of purpose and diligence in the conduct of the National Assembly and Presidential elections.” Babangida also said elections of state governors and State Assembly members on Tuesday, 26th April, 2011, would afford INEC the opportunity to correct a few lapses to ensure that the votes actually count.