from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – HATE speech and acrimonious campaigns are major signs that Nigerian politicians are yet to recover from years of military dictatorship.
That is according to the Conference Of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), the umbrella body of all registered political parties and political associations in the country.
“It is worrisome that in this time and age in Nigeria’s democratic experience that ruling parties would deny opposition access to public places for their campaign rallies,” CNPP Secretary General, Willy Ezugwu, stated.
He argued the continued militarisation of the Nigerian political space, and the obvious lack of tolerance for opposing political views, among candidates and their supporters, are wrong political values most politicians inherited from the military in 1999.
“Until politicians understand that it is the electorates that decides the fate of every candidate or political party in an election, the key gains of democratic governance will remain elusive in the country,” Ezugwu said.
“Nigerians on the streets will continue to bear the unfortunate brunts of bad governance due to elimination of competitions in the Nigerian the political arena,” Ezugwu said.
In the build up to the current 2023 general election campaigns, state governments have been accused of employing various methods to stifle the electioneering activities of opposition political parties and their candidates.
Some opposition Labour Party supporters recently alleged that the Nasarawa State Government denied them access to the stadium in Lafia, the state capital, during the flag-off of the party’s presidential campaign.
“Such primitive and obsolete politics of acrimony should not find its way into the 2023 general elections.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has condemned such actions.
The electoral agency threatened to penalise states in which such incidents were recorded.
Elections set for February 25 and March 11 are projected to be a tight contest between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which lost power in 2015.
Since independence in 1960, there have been five military coups in Nigeria.
– CAJ News