Saturday, March 17, 2007

According to The Guardian, Atiku Abubakar is not listed on the INEC's list of individuals cleared to run for President on April 21st. Atiku has now taken the case to court which according to INEC is his only remedy. INEC declared on its website that Atiku will be allowed to run if "a competent court" orders it.

In a statement released to the press on Thursday, Atiku and the Action Congress (AC) party "warned the electoral commission not to plunge Nigeria into the kind of crisis that a similar action created in Cote d'Ivoire, where a presidential candidate, Alhassan Quattarra, was denied a right to contest." (The Guardian). Is this a threat? Will Atiku and the AC orchestrate violence in order to keep the polls from happening? I desperately hope not, but at this point, anything is possible in my country, Nigeria.

Everyone is talking about violence on April 21st. Obasanjo issued a violence alert and put the armed forces "on full alert". Even Wole Soyinka has declared in a statement that anarchy looms, stating "[w]e are now firmly within the terrain, not even of the rule of law, but of the paranoid will of any individual, however, powerful, against the fabric of society, against such seeming intangibles as confidence in the ability of the law to protect the individual and the community..." He also "called on Nigerians to rise up in defence of the rule of law and prevent the enthronement of fascism in the country." ("The Will of One and the Rule of Law").

So will we descend into outright violence and chaos as a result of the 'beef' between Obasanjo and Atiku? I know some have called for revolution, but as a pacifist, I worry that any violence will spiral irreparably out of control. The consequence being inconceivable.

The 'powers that be' must not be allowed to prevent 43.5% of the populace from carrying out their democratic right to vote on April 21st. Nigerians must refuse to be duped into fighting one another just because certain people cannot keep their egos in check. To do so will be a complete injustice and absolutely reinforce my belief that the populace, the citizen is irrelevant to the 'big boys'. As I noted to some other bloggers recently, Peace and Unity are the ending words of our National Anthem. Let us not forget the importance of those words in a quest by a few for control and an attempt on their part to destabilise the hopes and dreams of the many. It is not too late to avert chaos.

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