By Harrison Arubu
The Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development (SCDDD) has called for urgent action by all players to save the nation’s democracy from looming danger.
The call came in a statement signed by the Executive Director of the centre, Mr Abdullahi Omaki, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
SCDDD noted that some recent developments in the polity ahead of the 2019 general elections were threatening “democracy itself and our collective aspiration for a stable and progressive nation’’.
It highlighted the issues to include the leadership crisis in the National Assembly (NASS), the gale of political defections, the lingering insurgency in the northeast and the “pervasive insecurity across the country’’.
The group stated that the Aug. 7 invasion of the NASS complex by DSS operatives was rooted in realignment of forces by political actors jostling for elective political positions in 2019.
It said the wave of defections was driven by lack of ideological base and internal democracy by the political parties.
These, in addition to the fear of possible leadership changes in both chambers of NASS, are at the heart of current events that have heated up the polity, according to SCDDD.
“Related to the foregoing is the pervasive insecurity across the country. Leading this basket of challenges is the resurgence of insurgency in the Northeast.
“This is accompanied by banditry and related criminal activities, horrendous attacks and killings as a result of the herders/farmers conflicts and cattle rustlings in Zamfara, Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Kaduna, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Katsina and Sokoto states.
“The pervasive restiveness in the South-South is another. There is also the rise of armed robberies and kidnappings for ransom across the country.
“The astronomical rise of IDPs as a result of these acts remains worrisome as these cumulative security challenges portend great threats not only for the 2019 elections but national cohesion, safety and survival of our dear country.’’
To avert trouble, the body called on the Federal Government to urgently address the frosty relationship between and among the security agencies.
It underscored the need for the security agencies to see themselves as “national institutions whose acts and conducts must reflect national concerns rather than getting unduly attached to the government of the day”.
SCDDD urged the agencies to operate within the ambit of the nation’s laws and the Constitution, and subordinate themselves to democratic institutions of the land.
“The penchant for their being drafted into constitutional matters must be halted except in such grave circumstances for which the constitution provides appropriate levels of responsibilities,’’ it said.
Savannah Centre also called on political party leaders to strictly adhere to due process and uphold high standards of civility in conducting their affairs to inspire confidence in their followers.