Noting that legitimate political choices and movements, including cross-carpeting, are part of a democratic enterprise, the Governor of Sokoto state, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has called on Nigerians to reject what he termed “prison-yard democracy, typified by the ignoble meddlesomeness, rascality and high-handedness of some security agencies against democratic institutions”.
He spoke in a statement issued on Tuesday against the backdrop of last week’s siege to the Abuja homes of presiding officers of the Senate and yesterday’s activities of security operatives in the Benue State House of Assembly as well as other perceived violations of the country’s democratic culture.
Tambuwal, who is now the first APC governor to openly rail against recent happenings in the country, described the developments as aberrations that go against the fundamental human rights of Nigerians.
His words, “Nigerians must, in strong terms, say no to prison-yard democracy, where the rights of the citizenry are shackled to the caprices of a few as if we now run a nation of helpless inmates.
“If the people of Nigeria are so unfortunate to endure the growling nightmare occasioned by deprivation of most things that a democracy should ordinarily provide. If they are now accustomed to the pangs of hunger, unemployment, shabby infrastructure, poor healthcare and general hopelessness, they should, in the interest of democracy and the youths, stand against anything that has the potential of robbing them of their inalienable rights to live and make choices as free citizens.”
Tambuwal condemned the recent happenings in Benue state and Abuja, where security agencies reportedly meddled in the affairs of both the Benue state and national legislatures, by trying to prevent some lawmakers from accessing their legislative chambers and also impeding the movement of the Senate President and his Deputy last week.
He said further: “These are unfortunate incidents, an aberration, a reprehensible attack on the fundamental human rights and privileges of fellow Nigerians and a direct attack on our fledgeling democracy. We should condemn this crass and impudent exhibition of uncivilized conduct so that we can keep peace and maintain a civilized society.
“Democracy is about freedom, of choice and association. It is about the people and the supremacy of the will of the people. Democracy loses its essential value when the overall interest of the people takes a back seat in any supposedly democratic setting,” he said.
The former speaker of the House of Reps maintained that “Any attempt to bully people out of their legitimate, democratic choices is a war against democracy, the rights of the citizenry, that power this unique people-oriented system of governance.”
Tambuwal said: “I also call on our leaders at all levels, to guard their utterances, in order not to drive our nation further down the path of divisiveness and ethnic/religious mistrust. Let us water our democracy, using the fountains of equity, fairness and justice for all.”