Former Deputy National Chairman, South, of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Atona of Oodua, Chief Olabode George, has expressed grave concern about the state of the nation, which he said was not at ease, adding that “from the desert to the sea, there is palpable that tension, that festering social dislocation every where,” and called for concerted efforts to remedy the situation.
Describing the deplorable security situation in the country, George said that situation is now compounded by “the scourge of banditry, the new fangled menace of ubiquitous kidnappers and the numerous largeness of the Book Haram zealots as well as the famed Fulani herdsmen/farmers’ clashes that has become predominant.
He said, “We are now being pushed to the brink. All kinds of faceless actors are now turning our present situation into a free for-all hate-mongering, reckless populism and sheer profiteering.”
While warning that “our leaders should not be stampeded into panicky, unreflective actions, George admonished every stakeholder, the ruling party, the opposition, the nonpartisan and everyone else to “step back from the brink and withdraw into a more reflective sobering position.”
According to him, the nation’s nascent democracy had gone to the dogs and pushed beyond elastic sustenance, because “we are now straying.
“The electoral process is very flawed, distorted, mangled, fractured, dishonest, primitive, savaged by deliberate human intrusions.
“As a result of this overt flaws in the electoral process as represented by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, we are all basically disenfranchised as none can guarantee that the votes cast are sacrosanct.
Everything is tampered with in the desperation to seize victory at any cost.”
He lamented that virtually all candidates are invariably aggrieved after election and thus troop to the judiciary for arbitration.
He condemned in strong terms a situation where the judiciary is gradually taking over the role of the electoral body, adding that “a lot is greatly amiss when the judiciary has practically become the deciding agency on who becomes a governor, a senator, a member of House of Representatives.”
He cited the example of India, where 800 million people voted and in two weeks results were announced with no judicial tribunals, adding that it is the same in most developed countries in the world, asking why Nigeria’s case is different.
Wondering why, after 59 years of independence, we are still in the Stone Age, George said that if the nation’s banking industry can process our data instantly, why not the INEC.
Proffering panacea to the malaise, George called for the dismantling of INEC as it is presently constituted, because according to him, “it is presently compromised, partisan, wrapped in self-consuming incompetence.”
He therefore advocated for INEC’s retooling, revamping, and overhauling “to align with the profiles of such institutions as witnessed across the world, where the full complement of the electronic system has long replaced the stones age system of manual collation, where electoral officers jump from tricycles to motor cycles to various moving contraptions and planes, physically carrying results to the Abuja headquarters.”
George did not also spare what he called “the constant insidious encroachments of herdsmen into our farms, provoking tensions and murderous violence,” adding that the upsurge of bandits and kidnappers are the latest evils threatening the stability of our nation.
He called for more thoughtful appraisal and tempering analysis of the newly proposed Ruga settlements for Fulani herdsmen across the nation, “lest we are thrown into destabilizing unknown.”
George also called on the government to be pro-active, redefine its tools of engagement, refresh its policies, be bold and non-partisan to ensure that the outlaws are promptly neutralized and hurried out of town.
He said, “Our nation is abundant with huge human resources and natural resources. We must apply our advantages to bring peace and lasting harmony to our lands.
“But we must be fair, we must be equitable. We must respect each others differences. We must be honest and true to each other regardless of tribe or tongue.”
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