ActionAid Nigeria a Non-Governmental Organisation has expressed concerns over the wave of violence heralding the April 2011 general elections.
The organisation described the trend as a “serious threat to the development and enthronement of electoral democracy in the country.”
The organisation frowns at the total disregard for the laws of the land and the rules of the game as enshrined in the electoral act by the conduct of politicians.
The wave of violence, according to the Country director of ActionAid Nigeria, Dr. Hussaini Abdu “is capable of disenfranchising the majority of the Nigerian people”.
In a statement issued by the anti-poverty agency, Abdu stated that “elections is one of the most portent tools for evaluation of leaders by the people and a healthy electoral contest is a harbinger of good governance, therefore elections and its processes must be built on the basic tenets of democracy ‘participation and the rule of law’’.
With the level of arson, kidnapping, killings and other unscrupulous acts characterising the build up to the elections, Abdu feared majority of Nigerians are likely to stay indoors for the safety of their lives and property during the election proper.
“The spate of violence has grave implications for the very foundation of our socio cultural, political and economic life and threatens the core of our existence as a nation”, warned the ActionAid Country Director.
He stated further that “at this point in the life of the country, it is our belief that the political class should by its conduct build a new politics that is devoid of rancour, ethnic or religious coloration, desperation and violence. Democratic contest should rather be characterised by exchange of ideas, healthy political rivalry and a genuine commitment by politicians to work towards the one goal of eradicating poverty and placing Nigeria on the path to genuine greatness and nationhood.”
The organisation observes that the poor, marginalised and vulnerable who ordinarily should be protected by the politicians are at the receiving end of the effect of chaos in the land, with attendant loss of lives and livelihoods; economic dislocation which has deepened poverty where they occur
The organisation believes that no single inordinate ambition of any individual is worth the life of any Nigerian and therefore calls on young people to shun the machinations of desperate politicians to entangle them in the cycle of violence.
ActionAid calls on all security agencies to put in place the necessary structures to guarantee the safety of lives and properties and ensure that all those who are found culpable in fomenting violence during the period are brought to book to serve as deterrent to others.