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Civil Rights Group condemns provocative foreign interference in Nigeria’s internal affairs
Demands appology from UK, US over publication
The Centre for Social Justice Equity and Transparency, CESJET has demanded a written apology from the UK, United, Saudi Arabia and other foreign bodies interfering in Nigeria’s 2019 election.
CECJET wants the apology to include an undertaken not to resume interference in Nigeria’s elections directly or indirectly using local or international groups or proxies.
CESJET Executive Secretary, Isaac Ikpa who briefed newsmen in Abuja today wondered at what point it became fashionable for the same US to become part of an axis of evil asking President Buhari not to seek re-election to serve Nigerians that are asking him to remain their leader.
It will be recalled that the Daily Independent Newspaper had in its Tuesday August 14, 2018 edition published a lead story on its front page with the headline: “Pressure Mounts On Buhari Not To Seek Re-Election.”
The news report went on to name the European Union, the United States, the UK, and Saudi Arabia as the countries that are mounting this supposed pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari not to take part in an election in which Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) expressed qualifies him contest.
Ikpa said CESJET count it as fortunate that the Federal Government of Nigeria has refuted the “fiction parading as news” which that story was.
He said, ” We would have however wished to see a harsher response than what we have seen from the Nigerian side so far because the story in question hold for us more sinister dimensions that required that Nigeria as a sovereign country respond to with anger on a scale that has not been seen from the country before.
“This is because we see that story as patently planted by the named countries in pursuit of their hatred for anything good happening in Nigeria. They planted the story as a way of gauging the response to such scenario and a tepid response would encourage them to scale up their meddling in Nigeria’s internal affairs.
“It has been more than 48 hours since the story was planted and published. Not one of the European Union, the United States, the UK, or Saudi Arabia have come out to refute that their diplomats were engaged in the ugly meddling reported in the news story.
The Executive Secretary said, “the silence for us at CESJET equals acquiescence, one that confirms that they had contemplated or had actively plied pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election.
“This would be the most irresponsible case of double standard ever knowing what the stance of these countries are when it comes to external interests attempting to influence the direction of elections in their territories.
“The United States is still frothing at the mouth each time the potential of Russia having meddled in the election that produced its President Donald Trump is discussed. The US has on the strength of a meddling it is yet to fully prove imposed series of sanctions against Russia while its nationals that were suspected to be linked to the alleged plots have been politically lynched.
“We therefore wonder at what point it became fashionable for the same US to become part of an axis of evil asking President Buhari not to seek re-election to serve Nigerians that are asking him to remain their leader.
“On a level as strident as the United States, the United Kingdom is still smarting from the outcome of its referendum that favoured exiting the European Union. Again, it blames Russia for meddling in the process to swing the outcome in favour of divorcing its European neighbours.
“The country’s politicians have made a career out of Russia bashing in the wake of this allegation, which makes it really appalling that this same “democratic nation” has not seen the urgency of distancing itself from the report that it is placing itself in the election space of Nigeria. Only a delusion that the UK remains a colonial master for Nigeria in 2018 could have procured the confidence that permitted the diplomats of that country to keep quiet in the face of such grievous revelation.
“We similarly wonder why and how the European Union arrived at the conclusion that fomenting discord in Nigeria is the elixir that will heal its unravelling union of disparate countries that are today perfecting plans to exit the toxic marriage that the European Union has proven to be.
” If the EU has not been able to tame the demon of the dictatorship of its members over each other what gave them the impression that they have to export same to Nigeria that did not sign a death pact to be part of the sick contraption? At what did it become their right to ask President Buhari not to serve his own people when their own politicians hide under infinite parliamentary term limits to die in office?
“That Saudi Arabi made the list is an insult to democracies the world over. Even if Saudi Arabia were to do away with its repressive and fratricidal monarchy today it will continue to trail behind Nigeria to become a democracy.
“Whoever mounted pressure on President Buhari on behalf of the Kingdom should be place under aggressive watch by the National Intelligence Agencies because for such dictatorship to attempt influencing the outcome of election in Nigeria is a clear sign of threat to our democracy.
“CESJET has nothing against non-belligerent nations observe democratic activities of a country of interest within acceptable international terms.
“Converting this otherwise good practice into a backdoor for interfering with and manipulating elections in Nigeria is unacceptable and would be rightly resisted same way the citizens of these perpetrating countries would have done if it were happening to them. We will resist it because for another country to decide who can and who cannot run office in Nigeria is an assault on our democracy.
“At a time the entire world is working to improve the credibility elections as a democratic tool worldwide, plying pressure on a potential candidate not to stand for office is a devious form of manipulation that can be classified on the same level with electoral violence and vote buying.
“It is the kind of message the world should not catch any decent country sending across.
“We understand that President Buhari’s anti-corruption war has turned off the flow of illicit finance to the accused countries and that their high street stores have closed shops since their corrupt clientele from Nigeria no longer have the slush funds for patronage and keep the accounts in profitability. It is understandable that these countries are losing tax revenue because stolen Nigeria money is no longer available to buy overpriced luxury apartments, automobiles and private jets.
“The corruptly rich are no longer able to make their annual vacations and pilgrimages to these countries amongst other indulgences that stolen public funds were diverted to. But President Buhari should not blamed for this as he has not stopped hardworking people in the private sector from spending their hard earned cash wherever they want.
“There is therefore no basis for a desperation to get him out of the way to be converted into an altruistically seeming pressure not to seek re-election.
It is based on this understanding that we expected that any country linked with such plot, even in the generation of fake news, would have taken urgent steps to correct the impression assuming it was wrong or to desist from further meddling in Nigeria’s internal affairs.
“CESJET therefore demands a written apology each of the European Union, the United States, the UK, and Saudi Arabia. The apology should include an undertaken not to resume interference in Nigeria’s elections directly or indirectly using local or international groups or proxies.
“In the event that these countries fail to comply with this demand, CESJET will re-assess it option with a view to adopting measures that will guarantee that no country gets the incentives to again toy with a process Nigerians hold as sacred to the survival of democracy in their country.
“We direct the individuals or groups that had at any point invited diplomats or representatives of these countries to come and meddle in the affairs of Nigeria to note that the practice is unacceptable in and to any country. It will not be tolerated in Nigeria.
“Persons aspiring to become presidential candidates should test their popularity within the context of the nation’s electoral laws and the constitution while desisting from compromising the sovereignty of Nigeria because they are desperate to win elections. Whatever election they are able to win through the interference of other countries would prove worthless since they will be saddled with a mandate lacking in legitimacy even as they will become puppets to such countries. No right thinking Nigerian will allow this to happen”he said