Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has called for a better understanding of politics in a democratic society like Nigeria, saying that hate speeches and acrimonious political campaigns are major signs that Nigerian politicians are yet to recover from many years of military dictatorship in the country.
The CNPP, in a statement issued by its Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, noted the continued militarisation of the Nigerian political space, and the obvious lack of tolerance for opposing political views, among candidates and their supporters, are wrong political values most politicians politicians inherited from the military in 1999.
According to the umbrella body of all registered political parties and political associations in the country, “Nigerian democracy should have advanced beyond the narrow understanding of the essence of democracy.”
The CNPP observed that “until politicians understand that it is the electorates that decides the fate of every candidate or political party in an election, the key gains of democratic governance will remain elusive in the country while Nigerians on the streets will continue to bear the unfortunate brunts of bad governance due to elimination of competitions in the Nigerian the political arena.
“It is worrisome that in this time and age in Nigeria’s democratic experience that ruling parties would deny opposition access to public places for their campaign rallies.
“For instance, recall that the All Progressives Congress (APC) cried foul in Delta State in 2017 when it was denied access to campaign venue in Aniocha South while in 2019, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had to put on hold its scheduled presidential mega rally about 24 hours to the campaign date after it was refused access to the venue of the rally.
“Ahead of the recent concluded Osun State governorship election campaign, the state chapter of the opposition PDP lamented that it was denied access to spacious facilities for its mega rally in July 2022.
“In the build up to the current 2023 general election campaigns, state governments have been accused of employing various methods to stifle the electioneering activities of opposition political parties and their candidates.
“Some Labour Party supporters recently alleged that the Nasarawa State Government denied them access to the stadium in Lafia, the state capital, during the flag-off of the party’s presidential campaign.
“Such primitive and obsolete politics of acrimony should not find its way into the 2023 general elections.
“We are aware that such practice has been condemned by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The electoral umpire had threatened to penalise states in which such incidents were recorded.
“We therefore strongly condemn such practice and call on INEC to ensure that states found culpable are punished in accordance with the relevant provisions of the law.
“INEC should enforce Section 95(2) of the Electoral Act 2022, which makes it very clear that state apparatus, including the media, shall not be employed to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election.
“The CNPP would consider any denial of access to campaign venues by any agent of the state and federal government as a deliberate effort to prevent other political parties from campaigning in their domains, contrary to the law.
“The CNPP then calls on all security agencies, in collaboration with INEC, to monitor hate speeches and acrimonious campaigns practices and ensure that perpetrators were brought to justice as part of efforts to ensure a violent-free 2023 general elections”, the CNPP said.