The Afenifere Renewal Group, a Yoruba socio-political body, has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to reciprocate the patriotism shown by Nigerians by resigning his position.
In a statement issued Monday, the group said Nigerians had made sacrifices without a commensurate effort from the leadership as if citizens signed a master-slave contract with their leaders.
“Because patriotism should beget patriotism,” said the statement signed by Kunle Famoriyo, Publicity Secretary, ARG.
“If Nigerians are being asked to be patriotic enough to suffer the attendant cost of poll shift in order to fight insurgency – a man-made problem – then, is it not normal for an administration that has shown unprecedented lethargy in prosecuting war against insurgency to be equally patriotic enough to admit its failure and step aside?
“To continue on the path of impunity and blatant abuse of the democratic right of Nigerians as the handlers of Nigerian state are doing is the foundation for injustice.
“Yoruba people loathe such insensitivity and will always reject such leadership because you can delay the burial of a corpse, but the delay can never resurrect the corpse.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had last weekend announced new dates for general elections.
While the Presidential and National Assembly election was rescheduled to March 28, the Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly poll was fixed for April 11.
The Afenifere group noted that although INEC had exercised its constitutional powers, the reason it gave for the postponement is “untenable.”
“Nigeria’s defence and security institutions have not convinced Nigerians that they have the capability to curb the Boko Haram insurgency and it remains to be seen that they now possess new tactics and intelligence on how to curb it,” the group stated.
“Therefore, it is difficult to see how a six-year menace will disappear in six weeks.
“Indeed, the events of the past few weeks lend credence to a pervasive public opinion that INEC was coerced into its adopted position. Nigerians were not particularly surprised at the postponement and many actually saw it coming.
“There is no doubt an ‘executive coercion’ whose design and intent can only be to subjugate Nigeria’s premier democratic institution, and until the security chiefs are able to advance believable reasons and demonstrate renewed commitment to their constitutional duty, Nigerians will remain suspicious of a premeditated plan to subvert democratic process.
“The public perception that the defence institutions are being used to forcefully gain partisan ambition is widening and the current federal administration, as usual, appears not to give a damn. In fact, security chiefs are helping to reinforce this perception, in the light of recent revelation on Ekiti gubernatorial election, and it can only lead to truncation of democracy.”
The group further said that the Yoruba people are not blind to the “grave” implications posed by the current crop of leaders pursuing their personal agenda to the detriment of collective goodwill.
“Toying with issues that should be sacrosanct in a democratic process is a shove that will soon turn to push and the Yoruba Nation will carefully consider its options for a desired peaceful and prosperous state,” the group said.
“We wish to warn those hell bent on scuttling our democracy to learn from history because, like they did in 2010 against the infamy known as ‘the cabal,’ Nigerians will continue to resist dictatorial agenda of a few who seek to hold the nation hostage.”