A leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday appealed to the National Assembly to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from dragging the country back to the dictatorial era of the military junta.
Reacting to the reported shootings by the police at the rally organized by the Save Rivers Movement in Rivers State on Sunday which left a serving senator in critical condition, Tinubu lamented that the Jonathan-led government, which had sworn to an oath to uphold the public order, now constitutes a menace to the very people it made the pledge to uphold.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Sunday Dare, the former Lagos State governor described the brutal disruption of the rally organized by the Save Rivers Movement in Rivers State on Sunday by the police as another dimension to the dangerous course the present government has charted.
He said, “Instead of assuring liberty and democracy. The Jonathan administration now wars against human rights and the democratic freedom of the people to select their own leaders. This represents a sad rush backwards into a past best left behind. President Jonathan seeks to forfeit our democratic future to reclaim a dictatorial past”, he stated.
Tinubu also said that, the people of Rivers State and of the Save Rivers Movement did not break any known law that would warrant the CP Mbu led police force to unleash such mayhem “under the directive of the Goodluck Jonathan led administration.
“What the police did was criminal. The violent and direct attack on Senator Magnus Abe is a frontal assault against democracy. The Jonathan government, which is supposed to protect the public order, now constitutes threats against the very thing they have pledged to uphold. The Police have been unleashed against the people and the voice of dissent like bloodhounds against a defenseless, stationary prey”, he added.
He, however, assured that no matter the obstacles the country’s “would be emperors may erect”, Nigerians will have their democracy with their rights and freedom fully intact.
Tinubu also alleged accused the federal government of using public funds to perpetrate anti-democratic activities, adding that it was the depth of political immorality.
He said, “This government doles out money from the public treasury not the private pockets of the Abuja despots to service hired mercenaries and political thugs. It is a deep tragedy that the public’s money is being used to employ people and weapons to shoot at the public. This is the depths of political immorality.
“What so incensed them that they felt compelled to shoot and beat unarmed fellow citizens whose only defense was their voice and whose only offense was their political affiliation was not of the federal government’s choosing.
“We are now returning to a time where having an independent mind or voice is a criminal offense. So disdainful of the law and its rule, the police no longer arrest. They are primed to shoot first ask questions later. We are supposed to live in a constitutional democracy but we are burdened with a Police Force that has now become an agent provocateur and a tool of political repression.
“They are the partisan, strong-arm division of the Jonathan Presidency. The Police are no longer a neutral law enforcement body. The people’s rights to freedom of association, expression and liberty are constitutionally guaranteed but have been effectively curtailed by the Jonathan led government. The people have the inalienable right to choose or associate with any political party of their choice. Sadly, a Presidency that was a major beneficiary of constitutional democracy conspires in Abuja to desecrate our political rights and mortgages our democracy”.
Calling on the National Assembly to rise to the occasion by intervening, Tinubu said, “Our party and our people will employ every lawful means to protect the lives and rights of every Nigerian in the lawful exercise of their political rights. Spurred by the fact that one of its own members was shot, the National Assembly must rise to their statutory responsibility in defence of the people’s rights and to exercise legislative oversight of an executive branch, through the police and a Presidency that has lost all sense of democratic balance and fair play.
“If the Assembly does not rise at this junction, things will only worsen and at some point they will be forced to confront the violent misbehavior of a government intent on perpetuating itself. Better that the assembly act now before so much harm is done that it becomes irreversible. Let the National Assembly be seen as coming to the rescue of those who elected them that they may prove heroic and patriotic at a time such as this.
“All Nigerians need to set themselves in vocal and sure opposition to the authoritarian evolution of the Jonathan administration”.
The statement further noted: “If published reports of the incident are true, the attack on Sen. Magnus Abe and brutal confrontation with the people who are first and foremost bonafide citizens of Nigeria and members of our party, APC is condemnable. It is a harrowing sign of even more brutal repression that is to come and thus must be denounced.
“The Jonathan Presidency is willing to sacrifice the lives of countless Nigerians so that it can continue to lord it over Nigerians. If they could shoot a current Senator in broad daylight on a Sunday imagine the mayhem they will set upon the average citizen seeking to advance his political rights. This is a premeditated act to squash public dissent and frighten the rank and file of the political opposition.
“Their purpose is not to govern Nigeria but to break down the rule of law and our democratic institutions so that they may own Nigeria. We have seen this show before. The illegal conduct of the Police in Rivers should be called what it is. It is uniformed gangsters, a coup against democracy. The rights and protection guaranteed to the Nigerian people should never be a function of the party they are affiliated with. Under the current Jonathan government, we move toward fascism.
“The international community should note of these developments and counsel this government against the belief that it can continually push the people against the wall and not expect the people to react. Nigeria is a democracy and those who would make it something else fight not only against the will of the people, they fight against the march of our history. Nigeria’s destiny is the rule of law, justice, fairness and freedom.
“No wonder the Jonathan administration is so committed to marking the amalgamation’s centennial; they want to take the place of our former overlords. It will not happen. History may sometimes repeat itself but never does it allow us to make a fool of it”, the former governor said.