Kukah proffers solution to voter apathy as Osun guber gladiators sign peace accord
Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto and Convener of National Peace Committee (NPC), Matthew Hassan Kukah, yesterday, blamed voter apathy on suffering and frustration inflicted on ordinary Nigerians by the political class.
He disclosed this in Osogbo, Osun State, during the signing of a peace accord by political parties and candidates ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
Commenting also on insecurity in the country, Kukah condemned “the rich harvest of deaths,” describing it as “a threat to democracy.” He, therefore, urged political actors to urgently curb rising violence and killings.
He lamented that Nigeria’s democracy is gradually turning into a system where only the rich participate as a result of heavy monetisation, including the sale of nomination forms at exorbitant rates.
He noted that worsening voter apathy could be fixed once politicians and public office holders desist from neglecting the people who voted them to power.
The cleric decried the current shutdown of universities, following industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). He said idleness among undergraduates is unacceptable and inimical to democracy.
Kukah said: “We are not unaware of the fact that as one of the campaign slogans says, “you want to win from top to bottom”, but the experience of ordinary Nigerians is that after winning from top to bottom, it is the top that seems to benefit, and this speaks to the need and urgency of political actors to begin to focus on ensuring a much broader spectrum of opportunities available for our people.
“The persistence of violence in Nigeria is directly correlated to the tragic situations around which our people find themselves. The bottom of Nigeria is characterised by ordinary people who make up over 90 per cent of the population.
“Our lives, today, are characterised by hunger. People are angry. People are dying. People are sick. Children are out of school. University students in Nigeria can, as well, be classified as out-of-school children. This is unacceptable, especially as I said that these things are happening in a democracy.”
MEANWHILE, the governorship candidates, including incumbent Governor Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), committed themselves to peaceful conduct before, during and after the poll by signing the accord.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, urged the political parties and candidates to abide by the letter and spirit of the accord.
He said: “The success of the peace accord depends on the continuous support and commitment of political parties and candidates, INEC, and security agencies.
“Speaking for INEC, I wish to reiterate our commitment to a transparent and credible election. Without peace, our deployment plans, recent innovations in voter accreditation, reserve management, the safety of voters, election duty personnel, observers and journalists, logistics arrangements and ultimately, the credibility of the poll be undermined.
“I appeal to all parties, candidates and other actors to play their parts in supporting the peace accord. It’s not enough to simply sign the peace accord. What is more important is abiding by its letter and spirit. This is the best way to show commitment to the implementation of the peace accord and appreciation for the work of the NPC.”
Also, in his remarks, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, said traditional rulers in the state would ensure their domains are peaceful, even as he urged politicians to stop instigating youths to violence.