The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign team for the Edo governorship election use of the presidential jet for its assignment.
HURIWA National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, while addressing a press conference, Monday in Abuja, said it was “naked show of reckless executive power.”
The rights group stated: “We have observed with shock and disappointment that the campaign council setup by the APC headed by the Governor of Kano state, Abdullahi Ganduje, flew into Benin, the Edo state capital, on a presidential jet belonging to all of Nigeria.
“If this trending news report is anything to go by then we absolutely condemn this reckless display of political rascality and flagrant abuse of power which offends Section 15(5) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which states that: The state shall abolish all corrupt practice and abuse of power.”
According to HURIWA, “Elections are transparent when each step is open to scrutiny; and stakeholders can independently verify whether the process is conducted honestly and accurately.
“The principle of transparency is linked to the fundamental right of citizens to seek, receive and impart information (which are elements of the freedom of expression), as well as the right to take part in government and public affairs.
“Decision making processes must be open to scrutiny, and reasonable opportunities for public input should be provided. Information relating to all stages of the electoral cycle must be made available and accessible to citizens, including voters and candidates.
“Nonpartisan and partisan observers should be accredited to observe all phases of the election process and be permitted to comment publicly on the process free from unreasonable restriction.”
The rights group therefore warned the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) to ensure that the governorship poll was free, fair, transparent, and peaceful.
“INEC must not be intimidated by either the federally-controlled security forces or the act of intimidation already displayed by the fact that the presidential jet was deployed to convey campaign team of APC, to then manipulate the electoral process.
“We want to caution INEC that any attempt to rig the poll may not augur well for stability of Nigeria. We appeal to the PDP and the APC as well as other political players participating in the poll to see the election as an opportunity for the good people of Edo state to democratically elect their freely chosen governor.
“The people of Edo must be allowed to exercise their fundamental human rights to freely choose who should be their governor.
“There must be no interference from external persons be they former governors, current governors, or the President of Nigeria. We ask the security forces to stay objective and to only work for public good and must not be used as agents to undermine the will of the Nigerian people,” the national coordinator stated.