Chief Goddy Uwazurike, former president of Aka Ikenga, has berated Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, for accusing the Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi and his running Dr Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed of committing a treasonable felony.
Chief Uwazurike, a senior lawyer who is currently the president of the Cultural Credibility Development Initiative (CCDI), said the Federal Government and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are by their actions, overheating the polity while accusing the opposition party that is only speaking against perceived abnormally in the country.
It would be recalled that the Information Minister had on Monday while having a media chat in Washington D.C., accused Obi of inciting violence over the outcome of the 25th February presidential election which didn’t favour him.
While addressing some international media organisations in Washington D.C. on the elections, on Tuesday, Mohammed had said the polls were the “fairest, most transparent and most authentic in the history of Nigeria.”
In a statement he personally signed, Uwazurike said it is quite absurd for the minister to level such an accusation against Obi simply because he elected to challenge the outcome of the recent presidential election in court which is his constitutional right.
He cited instances of how Buhari challenged the outcome of the 2003, 2007 and 2011 polls at the election petition tribunals (which is the same thing Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar are doing now) and nobody accused the president of treason or threatened to arrest him or his supporters then.
He urged Mohammed to apologise to the country for going to the international scene to demarket the country with his utterances.
The CCDI president upbraided the four men manning the media team of the APC Presidential Campaign Council (Bayo Onanuga, Dele Alake, Festus Keyamo, and Femi Fani Kayode) for stoking ethnic tensions and playing divisive politics before, during and after the 2023 general elections.
“Again, the notorious gang of four, also known as the media campaign team, have gone overboard in destroying the freedom of the media and inter-ethnic harmony. Bayo Onanuga coughs and the NBC swings into action. The other day, Arise TV and now Channels TV, all at the whims and caprices of the gang of four. Today, all non-Yoruba and Hausa people are seen as Igbo in Lagos and must be disenfranchised.
“The security arrangements are not for the Igbo in Lagos. Any statement in protest must be met with a sledgehammer.
“Enough of the derailing of the harmony of the society and the freedom of the press,” Uwazurike warned.
The legal expert who lamented that the security agencies appear to be sitting on the fence in the face of the raging controversies arising from what happened during the elections stressed the need for genuine national healing and for political leaders to retrace their steps for the stability of the country.
“Let common sense come back to Nigeria. Bayo Onanuga and co rejoiced over Kemi of the UK and Kemi of the Republic of Island for winning the election in Europe and have declared hostility towards non-indigenous people.
“The security agencies have seen no evil and heard no evil,” he said.
Also, reacting to the allegation of the minister, former Senator, Shehu Sani, who represented Kaduna Central, Senatorial District, accused the Federal Government of displaying bias in dealing with the controversies trailing the 2023 general elections.
In a tweet on Thursday, 6th April, Sani, a human rights activist, queried why the government is leaving those plotting Interim Government while threatening to charge those who are merely voicing out their frustration about what is happening, with treason.
“How sensible is it to spare treason charges on those officially confirmed to be plotting Interim Government while threatening treason charges on those who only speak?” Sani queried.
“Note the difference between plotting and speaking,” he advised.
Earlier, he had also stated that the actions of President Muhammadu Buhari’s supporters after the 2011 presidential election were worse than what ‘Obidients’ are presently exhibiting.
Sani was apparently reacting to the comment made by the Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, who criticised the Obidents for their outbursts over issues in the polity.
Soyinka described the comment by Datti that Bola Tinubu should not be sworn in as president because he did not meet the constitutional requirements as “fascistic”.
The Nobel laureate had also said he warned Obi that his supporters may cost him the presidential election.
Obi’s supporters had reacted to Soyinka’s comment.
Commenting on that Sani said that Obidents are more peaceful than Buhari’s supporters in 2011.
“NO patriot should trigger or encourage anarchy; but we shouldn’t also ‘shorten our memories’; what Peter’s supporters are doing in 2023 is more peaceful than what Buhari’s supporters did in 2011. You only need to recall the past in order to appreciate the present,” Sani tweeted on Wednesday, 5th April 2023.
In 2011 when Buhari lost the presidential election to Goodluck Jonathan, his supporters allegedly embarked on violent protests in parts of the north which led to the loss of several lives.
Sani while making reference to what allegedly happened then, said that people need to recall the past to be able to put things in proper perspective.
Events in recent times have given concerned Nigerians a cause to worry about the unity and stability of the country going forward.
Former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, at an event on Tuesday said Nigeria is currently more divided than it was during the civil war between July 1967 and January 1970.
He said the country has been “dangerously divided along ethnic and religious lines”, putting the integrity of public institutions to question.
“I don’t think Nigeria has been in a place as difficult as this since the civil war. We have a challenge of nation-building.
“We have a country that has been divided dangerously along ethnic and religious lines,” Sanusi stated.
He equally expressed concern about other challenges including the economy, adding that the lack of good leadership is a major cause.
“We have an economy that is in the doldrums, and unfortunately, we seem to be having a dearth of leadership among political leaders.
Continuing he said: “In October 2022, speaking at the Kaduna Investment Forum, I told Nigerians that if anyone told them that dealing with Nigeria post-2023 would be easy, they should not vote for that person and I meant it.
“No process is perfect as we have seen in the United States and the United Kingdom that they have made mistakes in choosing their leaders. But at the very least, the people know who they are voting for. I think we need to begin to look at the Electoral Act much earlier than elections.
“We need to have a system where you cannot just go to participate in party primaries without exposing yourself to public scrutiny. This is what happens in the UK Labour Party, others, the US Republican and Democratic parties. People need to know who they are voting for. In other climes, they are compelled by law to participate in public debates to discuss issues of policy.
“You can actually get to the presidency without Nigerians knowing whether you have the capacity or the vision to do the job.”
He stressed that the electoral process should be properly looked into to ensure transparency and credibility and ultimately, let the will of the people prevail.