October 14, 2021

Anambra: Emergency rule or power grab?

Agenda for 36 governors meeting tomorrow

LAST week Wednesday, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, served notice that if necessary, the Federal Government might declare a state of emergency to restore peace and ensure that the governorship election holds in Anambra State.

We join well-meaning Nigerians to kick against the deployment of emergency rule to solve political or security problems. Emergency rule is a cynical coup against constitutionalism and undemocratic. That former President Olusegun Obasanjo took such measures (which were severally invalidated by the courts) does not make it acceptable.

As sad and regrettable as the security situation in Anambra State is, we believe it can still be arrested even without military action if the police and security agencies are serious about their work. If the Imo violence was solved without emergency rule, so can that of Anambra.

The threat of emergency rule has only reinforced the niggling feeling that the Federal Government is always spoiling for sledgehammer solutions to issues concerning the South East. The extreme language that led to the president’s Twitter account suspension comes to mind.

The Boko Haram terrorism has held Nigeria hostage for 13 years. The “Bandits”, have been terrorising Nigerians in  Zamfara, Kebbi, Kaduna, Niger and even Buhari’s home state, Katsina for over six years; killing, kidnapping and abducting school children for ransom, attacking military establishments and even shooting down a fighter jet; yet no mention of emergency rule has been heard.

The Federal Government should not fall into the hands of its critics who have accused it of deliberately allowing the murderous activities of hoodlums in Anambra State to flourish to give it the excuse to declare emergency rule. It is not only a journey into the unknown, it is also liable to produce the next governor of the state against the people’s will.

The Federal Government should deploy in Anambra the same tactics it has always used to conduct acceptable elections in terror-stricken North East and North West.

The threat of emergency rule is a wake-up call on Governor Willie Obiano and his South-East colleagues to play their roles in restoring peace in their domains. The gunmen are running riot because of general failure of governance and leadership.

The governors must work with Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo and mobilise the communities to help restore law and order and allow the elections in Anambra to hold.

We urge IPOB, to call off its “no election” stance because it is anti-people. Even if people are forced to stay away during the election, a governor must emerge. Such a governor will not feel obligated to the people because he did not win through their genuine choice.

Anambra people must avoid playing into the hands of those who do not wish them well.