Being a Press Release by the Doing Democracy Movement, DDM.
DDM have received with utter shock the untenable display of might as right, in the manner upon which the governor of Adamawa State, MR. Murtala Nyako, was forced out of office by the State House of Assembly, beating every civilized constitutional standards, and pretending it was an impeachment by constitutional means. Without prejudice to whatever offence that the governor may or may not have committed, DDM position is premised on the fact that the action of an obviously compromised and controlled House of Assembly, from the federal capital, lacked the requirements of the minimum standard of civilization, ideals and expectations of an open quality democracy. This no doubt is sowing further seeds of crisis in an already violence-charged Nigerian polity.
DDM maintains that in the case of Mr. Murtala Nyako, fair trial did not take place as underscored by the Magna Carta: “To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice; and indeed, under the Nigerian Constitution. This concept revolve around the premise that no man or woman will be denied the opportunity to be heard without delay or prejudice, before an unbiased judge. This procedural due process of law requires that every man or woman should have his day in court of law, and the benefit of the general law which hear before it punishes, which proceeds not arbitrarily or capriciously, but upon effective inquiry and gives judgment only after trial. Why the rush in Adamawa state?
DDM maintains that evidence on ground suggest that the fate of Mr. Nyako was already predetermined by the Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). The abuse of the impeachment process, was simply to legitimize illegitimacy, if the spirit of the Nigerian Constitution must be taken seriously. Inspite of the approach of the Court by Nyako to test the legitimacy of the process, a Judge of the Court of Law, proceeded with reckless to do a hatchet job, his training, judicial code of ethics notwithstanding.
DDM insists that sustainable democracy requires constitutionalism, compromise, competitiveness, open access and respect for law. What has become absolutely clear in the predatory society which the present administration consciously engenders, is a clear field where political actors use any means and break any rules in the quest for power and wealth. What Adamawa State signifies is an environment that is conducive to corruption: where politicians bribe, blackmail, intimidate, assassinate political institutions, silence criticism, eliminate their opponents by legal manipulation, arrest and detain. The police and soldiers are made to protect the ultimate order, rather than the general populace. Police do not enforce the law and judges do not decide the law.
DDM unequivocally condemns the selective use of the impeachment process by the Presidency to haunt perceived enemies or those opposed to the benchmarks of the status quo. The impeachment process which is a veritable democratic instrument inserted in the constitution to enable representative institutions to punish erring elected executive members, must be used strictly for purposes envisaged by the spirit of the constitution, and in accordance with laid down criteria of the same. It must neither be used as a witch hunting instrument nor in a discriminative manner, which offends the tenets of effective liberal democratic behavior.
DDM calls on the Presidency and all political actors to seriously note that enduring stability can come to Nigeria only from a representative government that is accountable to its citizens, respects and protects their rights, and is guided by the rule of law. It is important that Nigeria escapes from this cycle of military democracy, that is intolerant of any strong opposition. Only a truly fair, open, credible and participatory, competitive electoral regime can begin that process effectively. The presence of a veritable opposition political party or parties, is critical for the survival and deepening of this democracy, since no single political party can possibly represent the many diverse interests of such great, multi-ethnic country. President Jonathan can best secure his place in history by ensuring that such opposition party and other voices of dissent, are not deliberated slaughtered in the alter of inordinate ambition.
Conscious of the tacit attitude of the ruling elite in Nigeria to resist change and competitiveness in the political space, DDM calls on the majority of Nigerians of whom power resides; and who bear the brunt of evil governance to revisit their strategies for radical transformation in the country. By change we mean the transition from the present socio-political structure of our society towards a shared or equitable society, in which all men and women, especially youths enjoy justice, freedom of opportunity, of expression and of association; a society which is ruled by a government to which the majority of the people have given their freely expressed consent without coercion or arbitrary manipulation; a society in which a good measure of economic equality and basic infrastructure prevails;
If we view the hard realities of present day-Nigeria against the background of the principles of a shared society, its backwardness inspite of enormous human and material resources abound, the conclusion must be that change will have to be radical, if it is to be meaningful, in the sense that it must aim at a profound transformation of society itself, rather than the mere change of individual attitudes within society, which has been the mainstay. It should be a process of liberating ourselves from ourselves, rather than solely of development.
DDM is a network organization in the Niger Delta Region of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organisations