A prominent pro-democracy and Non-Governmental organization – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has condemned the involvement in the year 2019 election campaign of the incumbent president by his appointees.
Similarly, the Rights group has expressed consternation that the Independent National Electoral Commission that ought to be truly independent has refused to publicly rebuke the open partisanship of some top officials of the Federal government even when their activities are bankrolled from the tax payers’ treasury.
HURIWA warned that should the current trend whereby serving federal government officials are allowed to be deeply involved in partisan politics even whilst holding to non-elective publicly funded offices, allowed to continue, then it may be concluded that the year 2019 election may have been rigged even before the balloting.
Wondering why officials who ought to operate as strictly professional heads of such sensitive bodies like the Nigerian customs service; Nigerian Immigration Service; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); Voice of Nigeria (VON) and Cabinet level officials such as Ministers of transport; Communications and Solid Minerals, are busy campaigning for the incumbent president’s re-election bid of 2019 just as public fund are deployed for such partisan activities.
Speaking specifically on the appearance on television of the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) wearing 2019 campaign lapel pin of president Buhari, the Right group said that the unwise and politically tainted action of Ibrahim Magu in adorning the campaign badge of All Progressive Congress has completely rubbished the neutrality of his headship of the anti-graft campaign panel and wondered why he hasn’t been booted out.
HURIWA said it was too risky to allow the current comptrollers General of customs and Immigration services to remain as heads of those strategic internal security bodies when they have openly displayed their membership of campaign platform of the incumbent president and the ruling party just as the group said their stay in office till the conduct of next year’s poll will jeopardize the security of the election. HURIWA said it was shocked that even the Comptroller General of Nigerian Immigration Service Who is still in service was sighted at an All progressives congress stakeholders meetings in Kaduna and is rumoured to be nursing a Senatorial ambition and yet almost 6 months after these sightings, the politically tainted Comptroller General of Immigration is still occupying public office whilst nurturing his political ambitions.
“It is notorious knowledge that the customs and immigration department controls the inflow of persons and materials into Nigeria. It is dangerous to allow the duo of current holders of the top offices of both agencies to continue in offices in this campaign year and next election year following previously recorded cases of importation of both illegal aliens as voters and the uncontrollable inflow of small arms and sophisticated weapons. The two officials are no longer neutral.”
HURIWA in the media statement signed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Director Miss Zainab Yusuf has therefore charged president Buhari as someone who professes his love for a free and fair elections, to relieve all those biased and politically affiliated federal government officials of their important jobs and replace them with statesmen/women and patriots with no political affiliations.
“How can we have top security officials of government whose loyalty is to a political party and we expect a free, fair, transparent and peaceful poll in which their principal is actively interested in retaining office beyond the first term? If these politically compromised heads of customs, immigration and other cabinet level office holders already campaigning are not sacked, then public fund could be diverted to political campaigns.”
HURIWA recalled that a group called the Buhari Support Organization (BSO) led by the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Col Hamid Ali, on Tuesday visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja.
HURIWA recalled that during the visit, the President addressed issues regarding the alleged misappropriation of funds on projects by past governments.
HURIWA quoted Buhari as specifically criticized a former president (whose name he didn’t mention) for spending billions of dollars on power projects in the country with no results.
HURIWA recalled that the President, said that one of the former Heads of State had bragged that he spent 16 billion dollars on power whereas there wasn’t anything to show for it.
He the President had used the occasion of the visit of the Vusyoms comptroller heading Buhari Support Organization to alleged that the perpetrators lacked imagination and plans for Nigeria’s development and therefore, urged citizens to remain vigilant and ensure that only “people of conscience are in-charge of governance at all levels”, even as the 2019 general elections draw near.
HURIWA has therefore accused the current government of converting government agencies and officials as campaigners for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 which the group said is totally unconstitutional and illegal to deploy public fund and working hours to organize political campaigns.