Vanguard (Lagos)

23 June 2014

Nigeria: Our Country Needs Attention

editorial

POLITICS is replacing the attention that our country needs to make progress. The biggest casualty is the people. Politics should focus the collective future of Nigeria. How can politics help our situation, when it is not serving the people by creating opportunities to sustain society?

The consistent and flagrant abuses of individual and group rights, with a veneer of official seal, muddle issues to resolve Nigeria's unworkable politics. In the past few weeks, these abuses have become features of our politics. They are dangerous and must be stopped.

When newspapers caught the attention of the military two weeks ago, they seized them with the most spurious excuses. No apologies were offered for the seizures that were explained away as security checks. Now that the freedom of some individuals is being abridged, there are no explanations too.

We think the authorities should pay attention to running Nigeria well. Many issues deserve attention that the inconveniencing of some individuals should not be promoted to statecraft. Our people are suffering. Our country is at the fringes of global interests. We no longer elicit the type of importance we need to command relevance.

Ceremonies for the new Emir of Kano Sanusi Lamidi Sanusi and campaign rallies in Ado Ekiti were "militarised". Security agencies, particularly the military, stopped people from attending these events. How did the decisions improve Nigeria?

The quest for power should have boundaries. The disruption of the constitutional rights of people over power contests is illegal and an embarrassment to democracy. The silence of the authorities, as was the case when soldiers stopped newspapers from circulating, claiming security reports alleged newspaper vehicles were being used to ferry bombs across Nigeria, is loud enough.

Politicians should stop thinking their control of Nigerians is divine. These abuses have no room in a democracy. The deployment of the military to act in favour of one side in a contest has deep implications that the authorities must contemplate.

Our people are still clinging to promises politicians make each election season. The changes promised them have translated to more poverty, illiteracy, disease and deprivations. It is unimaginable that while politicians are unable to improve the lives of our people, they gloat all over the place without concerns about the dictates of democracy and the tenets of democratic governance.

President Goodluck Jonathan should halt the abuses the military are introducing in political matters. Are they acting on their own? The abuses are under the cover of his office.

Nigeria is more important than individuals' ambitions. The militarisation of politics and the harassments should stop. We deserve to live peacefully, without these abuses, and under governments that consider our welfare more important than electoral victories.

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