A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) has called out President Bola Ahmed Tinubu over the arrest of the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joe Ajaero, warning that nothing untoward must happen to him in custody.
The coalition known as United Action Front of Civil Society Hope also upbraided Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, for ordering Ajaero’s arrest, saying he will never know peace.
In a State of the nation address issued in Abuja, the head of the national coordinating secretariat of the United Action Front of Civil Society of Nigeria, Olawale ‘Veteran Che’ Okunniyi, said, “Hope Uzodinma, the Governor of Imo State today shot himself in the leg as anticipated, and will never know rest” for ordering the arrest of the NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, the leader of the entire workforce and masses of Nigeria and will never know rest again.
“It will therefore be in the interest of the Governor of Imo State that nothing happens to Ajaero in his illegal custody to avoid total shutdown of Abuja and Nigeria, as the Nigerian people are being pushed by those in power towards mass action.”
The CSOs also faulted the recent pronouncement of the Supreme Court affirming Tinubu as president, agreeing with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, the highest court in the land “ended up legitimizing illegality, including forgery, identity theft, and perjury.”
Okunniyi noted: “Therefore, the United Action Front of Civil Society wishes to unequivocally assert that the Supreme Court failed to live up to the expectation of making justice count as the final arbiter; as it ended up delivering judgements spiced with verbosity and embellishment of technicalities. It is therefore highly disappointing that the Supreme Court in its judgements gave the impression that electoral fraud could be justified and endorsed within the spirit and letter of the Nigerian constitution and electoral law by simply relying on technicalities.
“The United Action Front of Civil Society considers it rather curious that both the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) and the Supreme Court endorsed the flagrant flouting of electoral guidelines by INEC and the electoral heists perpetrated across the country by State Captors during the 2023 Presidential elections.
“The United Action Front of Civil Society considers it utterly worrisome that the Supreme Court which ought to be the guardian of the sanctity of the Nigerian Constitution and its Electoral Law has become the very tool for legitimizing illegality, impunity and perjury. Regrettably, the danger inherent in the decision of the Supreme Court is to the effect that future elections may be fraught with greater impunity, manipulation, banditry and violence as the faith reposed in the judiciary to freely and fairly adjudicate in election disputes has been gravely eroded.
“The United Action Front of Civil Society is therefore disturbed by the implicit reality of undermined faith of the Citizens in the judiciary, which signposts danger for the future of democracy in Nigeria. It is in that regard that we are further perturbed by the revelations made by retiring Justice Musa Dattijo Mohammad against the background of elaborate public perception, which speaks eloquently to the worrisome state of the Nigerian judiciary as reality rather than mere apprehension regarding perversion of justice in Nigeria.”
The coalition however implored Nigerians to remain resolute and steadfast in the defence of democracy, urging them to demonstrate this through relentless commitment to the demand for justice notwithstanding political and judicial intimidation.
“We therefore align with the position of the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar that Nigerians must choose freedom over servitude and therefore wish to reiterate his call that the judiciary must never lend itself to politicization as it is currently the norm with nearly every institution in Nigeria. More importantly, however, is the need for Nigerians to brace up for the challenges ahead which demand vigilance, mass resistance, constructive opposition and dogged commitment to the cause of genuine democracy, credible elections, rule of law and justice as the aftermath of the Supreme Court Judgement has clearly shown that Nigeria requires an urgent people’s driven constitutional political and electoral surgery to survive as a democracy.
“We wish to call on leading opposition leaders in the country such as Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Mr Peter Obi, and Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso among others to immediately rise and unite to rally opposition forces in Nigeria to resist heightening impunity and recklessness in the governance of Nigeria, especially in defence of the future of the country’s democracy as done in other advanced democracies around the world.
“We wish to reaffirm that unless political opposition becomes formidable, engaging and active in any country, popular governance will shrink and die, especially as the FBI begins to release the Files of the President today in far away United States of America,” the CSOs added.