Urge other countries to act
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, Tuesday, hailed the United States Government over visa ban on election riggers in Kogi and Bayelsa State governorship elections.
Reacting to the development, the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Rafsanjani, in a statement said, “The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) commends the recent historic move by the United State Government with resultant Visa restrictions on electoral-related violence, primarily to restore fairness, credibility, and transparency in Nigeria’s electoral processes.
“We recognised the remarkable development as restoration of fast-eroding democratic principles and core values in the nation’s electoral processes, dominated by decades of unchecked violence, vote-buying, and ballot looting.
“We express total support for the new policy, which has validated the years of persistent demands by Civil Society, Human Rights and Anti-corruption activists for stringent international measures to discourage electoral violence that paves way for electoral fraud and undermines democratic principles in Nigeria.
“We are not unaware of lack of political will at all levels of government to address electoral violence, in spite of the existence of laws and reports from several Panels and Commissions, with recommendations.
“We also welcome the pronouncement by the United States Government in anticipation of respect for sanity and sanctity of rules of law in the run-up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo State elections, and beyond.
“We, therefore, call on British and other Governments to follow suit in the imposition of Visa restrictions to discourage electoral offenders from using their respective countries as alternatives in harbouring electoral crimes.”
The Convener, Coalition In Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, CDNDC, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, said, “Let me also appeal to the British High Commission (UK In Nigeria), the European Union and Canadian Embassy, to immediately follow suit, activate same Visa ban clause in their diplomatic engagement with Nigeria, and join the US in tightening the noose against erring politicians and political wheeler-dealers who are always in the habit of undermining credible elections in Nigeria.
“We are also appealing to the US to take this good initiative further by allowing the entire country and the world to know about the identity of politicians who have been so banned, as such act of naming and shaming is required to deter many more bad eggs.
“We also want this visa ban to be extended to judges who have compromised the bench, the temple of justice, and ridiculed our courts with their warped and atrocious judgments in election-related matters. We will continue to write the United States and it partners to do more in protecting our elections.”
The President and Founder One Love Foundation, OLF, Chief Patrick Eholor, said, “It is a welcome development, I honestly think is the most sincere thing the American Government has done for Nigeria.
“I think the European Union should also follow suit to restrain all Nigerian politicians who have been involved since our Nigerian democracy. They have to sanction anyone who has been involved in the past or present.
“They have to ban their families from entering America or any of the European countries. This will serve as a deterrent for present and future politicians. They should go further more to seize their asset anywhere in the world because what they are doing is criminal and banditry.
“And also they should extend the olive branch to some of our notorious pastors and some of our notorious army officials and all ministries, institutions including Customs and Police for human right violations and theft.
“America should use their military intelligence and we would support them with our whistleblowers to give them the information required to nail these bandits so we can have a better society so the Exodus of refugees will stop. We don’t need their foreign aid if they can assist us with this, for a better Nigeria is possible.”
The Convener, Concerned Nigerians, CN, Deji Adeyanju, said, “We want to commend the US government for their decisive action in imposing a visa ban on those who took part in manipulating and subverting the will of the people in Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.
“It is imperative to note that, this Visa ban will send a strong signal to those who are always available to be used by politicians to rig elections, manipulate results and perpetuate violence during elections that actions have consequences.
“We are also appealing to the US government to extend the Visa ban to Kano government officials who manipulated the outcome of the governorship election in 2019, INEC officials and political actors planning to rig the upcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo.
“This Visa ban will in no small measures, help deepen our democracy, and ensure transparency in our electoral process. We are also begging the US government to as well, ban corrupt government officials looting the nation’s treasury.
The Founder and President of Peoples Movement for a New Nigeria, PMNN, Yahaya Ndu, said, “First of all I consider it an insult on our dignity as Nigerians for a foreign country like the US to be pressurizing us on how to behave about elections and what have you.
“We should ask ourselves if what is practiced in Nigeria and even in the US qualifies to be called a democracy in the first place.
“As far as I am concerned what we operate whether through transparent and credible elections is nothing but kleptocracy and not democracy.
“If we operate through democracy there would be absolutely no need for rigging or electoral violence etc.
“Anyone who wants to know what proper democracy looks like should study ancient Igboland.
“We should find out how to operate a mass participatory governance system. That is democracy.”