“It is understood that judges are already being intimidated so as to prepare them to do the ruling party’s bidding in election petitions”.
This statement was made by former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday in Abuja while speaking , at a colloquium titled Nigeria’s democracy: The journey so far and the role of women, which marked the 70th birthday anniversary of Mrs. Josephine Anenih, former minister for Women Affairs and Social Development.
Obasanjo alleged that the All Progressives Congress is using the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC and other relevant agencies to intimidate opponents; adding that some judges are already being intimidated to rule in favour of the ruling party, in petitions that would arise from next year’s election.
He said, “Some institutions created for normal administration and dispensation of Justice, like the EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Ministry of Justice are being directed to witch-hunt and pursue political opponents can only undermine survival of democracy.
“The use of intimidation, violence and physical attacks have started in some States.
“It is understood that judges are already being intimidated so as to prepare them to do the ruling party’s bidding in election petitions.
“All there are visible in today’s practise of democracy in Nigeria.”
Obasanjo without mincing words explained that for democracy to be sustained, rule of law must be observed by those in power.
The former president also said democracy should not mean shutting those who did not vote for you; stressing that it is a government of the people by the people.
“For me, that after almost twenty year’s of the beginning of the present dispensation, it has not been derailed, is enough a development in progress, even though there are many unpalatable practises and dangerous signs that have shown their ugly heads, which is the strongest indication that our democracy is alive but, it cannot be said to be hale and hearty.
“Practitioners of democracy must be democrats, if you have a lot to be desired.”
He decried the current situation where Nigeria is yet to meet the 35 affirmative action.
“In this present administration, there are 15 women members in the House of Representatives.
“It is not only unacceptable but makes mockery of gender balance. There must be amendment of our constitution, not to allow any gender to have less than 40 percent in any parliament.”