Democracy now in a shambles, Bode George laments
• Seeks ICC intervention in Lagos Guber election
• Knocks Onanuga over comments against Igbo residents
Former Deputy National Chairman (Southwest) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has described Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly election as “shambolic”.
George lamented that it was disheartening that Lagos State, the bastion of civility, humility, decorum, harmony and respect for the rule of law was, on Saturday, turned to “a den of lunatics during the Governorship and House of Assembly elections.” He, therefore, called on the International Criminal Court to look into the matter, noting that the crimes committed at the election against unarmed, peaceful people trying to exercise their lawful duty and responsibility is no different from war crimes.”
In a statement issued on Monday night, he said the efficacy of democracy is shaken, adding, the forefathers of Lagos, the Awori and others, will be angry in their graves at those power-hungry fellows who turned everything upside down in their quest to retain power at all cost. He condemned the comment made by the President-elect’s spokesperson, Bayo Onanuga, against Igbo residents, saying they are lawful occupants who contribute immensely to the taxes accruable to the Lagos State government.
He said: “We all know that ‘Oro’ is done in a rural setting, and in the night. But in Lagos, we saw some ‘Oro’ worshippers – fake or real – invoking spiritual insults on other Nigerians in broad daylight. This is a bastardisation of our culture and tradition.” George said during the Presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25, soldiers were seen on the road and there was civility.
“Thugs didn’t mess up. There was complete peace. So, who ordered that the soldiers should be withdrawn during the Governorship and House of Assembly elections? Was their withdrawal ordered to ensure that thugs had a field day, snatching and burning ballot boxes and papers?
“When are we going to be civil in our approach to constitutional democracy? This is not the Lagos we used to be proud of. This election is a total disgrace to the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a party and Nigeria as a country.” The Atona Oodua of Yorubaland stated that due to threats from thugs, many potential voters returned home in anger without voting.
“In many polling units, we watched videos of snatching of ballot boxes/papers by APC thugs. Ballot boxes and papers were also burnt.
Thugs were seen with dangerous weapons invading polling units, threatening voters to either vote for APC or leave. Some voters were matcheted and shot.
The tragic-comedy of the electoral charade was witnessed when a couple was turned back from a polling unit by APC thugs because they look like Igbo. Whereas they are full blooded Yoruba.
“Sisi Yemmie, the affected woman, said in a video which has gone viral: “I was born in Lagos. I am a Lagos woman. This is my village but I was not allowed to vote because I don’t look like Yoruba. My husband and I were not allowed to vote. They said we look like Igbo people. I can’t believe this.”
“In the video, she was heard arguing with some APC thugs that she was born in Lagos but the blood-thirsty thugs were adamant and unyielding. Eventually, they were not allowed to vote. What a disgrace!” He stated that in democracy, somebody can’t force anybody on the people, adding that the will of the people prevail.
“Is this now a mob state? With what happened on Saturday, Lagos is now the centre of ‘Wetie’, with thugs on the rampage, attacking innocent citizens.
Those responsible for this despicable act should be ashamed of themselves and must be brought to justice. I watched videos of armed thugs moving from polling units to units, telling people not to come out and vote if they were not voting for APC. What an affront! What an insult!
“Is this no longer about democracy? Do we now have a full-blown dictatorship in the land? Disenfranchising people who have a legal right to vote and excluding them through mob action is a clear indication that Lagos is now under the rule of the mob.
“How do you explain the level of violence and mayhem witnessed during the election? What we are now experiencing can be likened to international organised crime.”
“I want to appeal to all in Lagos that we should remain calm and peaceful. We must continue to trust in Almighty God to give us victory on every front as we continue the struggle in our collective cause for the liberation of our state. May God bless us all.”