This is the official blog of the Nigeria-based Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a human rights organization which promotes, protects and projects the rights of Muslims. This group condemns terrorism and all acts of violence. Its motto is 'Dialogue, Not Violence'
Monday, September 9, 2013
MILITANTS' THREAT AGAINST ATIKU
9th September, 2013
MILITANTS' THREAT AGAINST ATIKU UNACCEPTABLE
Militants from the Niger Delta reportedly threatened Nigeria's former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, over what it called the latter's role in the balkanization of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP). The militants allegedly declared him persona non grata in the Niger Delta area.
We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) regard this threat as a big minus in the chances of President Goodluck Jonathan winning the next general election to begin his second term in office. We find this approach adopted by militants in the Niger Delta lacking in political sagacity, and inter-personal diplomacy. The authors of this threat have unwittingly drawn the attention of Nigerians outside the Niger Delta to their parochial mentality in which President Jonathan is seen merely as the president of the Niger Delta people alone.
MURIC reminds Niger Delta militants that anyone that emerges as president in this country has become the president of the whole of Nigeria. Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is therefore not a regional president for the Niger Delta alone. He is the president of the core North, the Middle Belt, the South West, the Niger Delta, the South-South and the South East. He is the president of all. Whoever is behind the latest threat has not helped Mr. President.
Nobody has the right to declare any candidate persona non grata in any region in a democracy. The game is not fair if a level playing field is not provided for all contestants. By seeking to give undue advantage to their kinsmen, and by manifesting ethnic vendetta against a possible opposition candidate from another region, militants of the Niger Delta are indirectly recruiting supporters for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar while scaring away people from outside the Niger Delta who hitherto belonged to the Jonathan camp.
It is very sad that fourteen years into the Fourth Republic, a section of Nigeria still believes in politics of threat. MURIC affirms that the current crisis in the PDP is neither regional nor ethnic. Rather it is an intra-party struggle for the enforcement of Allah-given and fundamental rights as well as the entrenchment of democratic principles of justice, liberty, equality and the rule of law. It is about whether the PDP wants to genuinely reform or remain permanently reactionary.
MURIC charges all elements in the PDP and other political parties, particularly Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, not to allow this threat to dampen their enthusiasm. The psychology of fear is being exploited to keep opponents at bay. This is alien to democratic culture. We therefore urge all politicians to ignore the threat and pursue their ambitions without fear.
Nonetheless, we call on Nigeria's security agencies to wade into the matter immediately. Threats of this nature must not be taken lightly if the reputation of Niger Delta militants is anything to go by. This is a challenge for the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and a test of his professional competence. Everything necessary must be done to ensure the safety of the ex-Vice President. In addition, it must be noted that the issuance of threat against any particular person is a criminal offence.Issued this time around against no less a personality than an ex-President, the IGP owes it a duty to commence criminal investigation against the authors of the threat if he does not want Nigeria to become the laughing stock of the international community.
Finally, the presidency must manifest its political maturity and prove its innocence of the threat by issuing a disclaimer. Silence implies complicity. Nigerians cannot accept governance via threats and blackmail. These are inconsistent with freedom, a major dividend of democracy.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), 0818-211-9714