Vanguard (Lagos)

30 April 2009

Nigeria: Ekiti - ACF Urges Politicians to Moderate Conduct, Utterances

Kaduna — The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has expressed concern over the growing tension in the country following the Ekiti State governorship re-run election and cautioned the leadership of the political parties to moderate their conduct and utterances in the interest of the nation.

The ACF also urged the Federal Government to release the former Chief Security Officer to the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha; and Military Administrator of Zamfara State, Col. Yakubu Jibril, among others who have been in jail since 1998.

This was contained in a communiqué issued after a meeting of the National Working Committee of the organisation in Kaduna, yesterday.

According to the ACF, "democracy is the contest of ideas and reason and certainly not a contest of survival or zero-sum-game where the winner takes all."

The communiqué read in part: "The meeting observed the growing atmosphere of tension surrounding the re-run election in some local government areas of Ekiti State and the ensuing altercations between the leaderships of the opposing political parties.

"The ACF appeals to the leadership of political parties to moderate their conduct and utterances in the interest of peaceful co-existence among the people of different political groups in Ekiti State, as well as in the interest of our young democracy.

"So, in order to discourage violence in the polity, it is necessary for governments at all levels to cultivate the noble practice of running all-inclusive governance where access to national resources by way of distribution of projects, of public offices/employment and contracts, and not unduly skewed against the parties that lost elections.

"The ACF is pleased with the Federal Government's decision to provide N200 billion for commercial agricultural credit scheme and the increase from the already announced N70 billion intervention fund for the revival of the textile industry.

"But these laudable gestures would still achieve little if there are no sturdy mechanisms for their management in terms of reaching the targets and recovering same as and when due.

"Therefore, the forum call on the government to put in place, good management of these funds for common good.

"The ACF is still very much concerned about the endless incarceration of Messrs Al-Mustapha, Yakubu Jibril and others, against the spirit of national reconciliation as strongly recommended by the Oputa panel.

"The forum, therefore, appeals to all the authorities concerned to please effect the release of these gentlemen, not so much on the basis of any legal imperatives but on human consideration of the difficult circumstances under which they operated.

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