Former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku has warned that Nigeria's friends in the international community are watching the behaviour of the federal government and its agencies as the 2019 general elections gets underway.
Anyaoku who was speaking during an international symposium to mark his 86th birthday in Abuja at the weekend, said the outside world are particularly keen on the role of the police, army and other law enforcement agencies, to see how far they respect the country's constitution and the rule of law.
“From my long experience with international politics, I must warn that no country can be an island unto itself especially in our increasingly globalizing world.
“Therefore, our Nigerian government like others all over the world, while guarding its sovereignty, should pay heed to the views of the international community otherwise the country would return to the pariah status which it happily exited in 1999 when it embraced democracy”, he said.
While given kudos to the INEC for its handling of the last gubernatorial elections in Anambra and Ondo States, Anyaoku however threw the flacks on the electoral umpire over its conduct of the Ekiti and Osun States elections.
“I urge INEC to remain aware of the fact that the credibility of the results of our forthcoming national elections will depend on the level of impartiality and transparency it demonstrates in ensuring that all aspect of the elections are free and fair, thereby making the results to truly represent the will of Nigerian citizens.
“Indeed the image and standing of our country within the international community will be significantly affected by how INEC and the federal government as a whole are seen to behave in all matters relating to the elections.
“My third observation is on the current deplorable debasement of the sanctity of human lives in our country. Last September to the end of November, I was in Harare Zimbabwe serving on a high level commission of enquire which the President of Zimbabwe had felt compelled to appoint following the death of six nationals in a protest that occurred after the country's national elections”, he said.
The former Commonwealth chief went on, “The death of six persons was considered as a national tragedy and that aroused deep concern throughout the country. But what happens in our country, Nigeria? We hear and read virtually every day in the media of the killings of people in their tens, twenties and sometimes even more than twenty, and the government and people seem not to be reacting commensurably to the situation.
“I would like to conclude with a comment on the general issue of governance. Judged by all the relevant indices, Nigeria today is clearly underperforming and lacking national cohesion as never before. And so, like Kate in the ancient Roman Senate who because of his passionate desire to subjugate Cathage the then arch rival of Rome, always ended every speech he gave with the words, 'Atago Delenda Est' meaning 'Cathage must be destroyed'.
“If our country must succeed on the road to political stability and realization of its rich developmental potentials; it must by restructuring its present governance architecture. It must return to true federalism that it practised in the years before the military intervened in our national politics”.