Assault on Judiciary, Existential Threat To Nigeria’s Democracy – Nwanze

Chxta NwanzeThe Managing Editor, Y Magazine, Cheta Nwanze, on Thursday described the assault on the judiciary as an existential threat to Nigeria’s democracy, noting that “we cannot wish it away. Neither can we pretend that it is not happening”.

There has been uproar in many quarters following the alleged attack on a judge in Ekiti state and this, Nwanze says must be faced head-on, adding that “a situation where judges start to cower in fear means that the entire structure on which our democracy is built on will not last.”

Nwanze, who analysed President Goodluck Jonathan’s Wednesday Independence Day speech on Sunrise Daily, pointed out that “the President didn’t touch on the most important issue in his speech, which is the assault on the judiciary”, insisting that he could have at least acknowledged it.

“We cannot have a thriving democracy if we don’t have a free and independent judiciary and what’s happening in Ekiti state now is going to be a measure of how our judiciary gets its independence.

He noted that the Chief Justice of Nigeria’s call to all state governors to ensure fiscal independence for the judiciary remains an issue to keep an eye on.

On the argument whether Nigerian’s had anything worth celebrating on the occasion of their 54th year as a sovereign nation, he argued that “there are a 170 million Nigerians and different people see independence in different directions, in different ways.

“A lot of people (who own small businesses) actually went out to work yesterday and that’s a message given without saying anything; That they live day to day, so whatever economic progress we want to beat our chest about, has clearly not delivered to this people because if they fail to work on this given day, then they have a problem.”

He insisted that “that is the real story of Nigeria,” noting that “it’s not about the stories we hear at conferences and all of that but what has the country delivered to its people; the man on the street.”

“Sadly, it hasn’t yet delivered”.

On the recurring theme of security in Independence Day speeches, Nwanze gave kudos to the security agencies, stating that “despite all of the negative reports or the alarmists reports that we hear, they are actually doing a decent job”.

He highlighted that many of the security agents had not received the appropriate training and “insurgencies take a long time to defeat and in most cases, you probably have to come to a negotiated settlement”.

He, however, warned that the elements that feed terrorism and the Boko Haram insurgency are present all over the country, including massive unemployment and poverty.

“When you have those two in tandem, you find that people tend to listen more to extremists but when people have a hope for the future, then people will be less likely to listen to extremists. So we can’t keep beating our chest about two and a half million jobs created we cannot see the jobs and on the other hand we can see people being recruited into these kind of organisations.”

Anambra Polls: Our People Now Know Better – Analysts

The youths in Anambra State are more enlightened and involved in determining who leads the state and this has led to a better sense of purpose by the candidates vying to lead the state.

This was a view expressed by Anambra State Co-ordinator of non-governmental youth organisation, known as Wakeup Call, Ifeanyi Aniago while appearing on a special edition of Channels Television’s Politics Today, live from Awka, Anambra State.

Also on the programme to do a post-mortem of the Anambra State Governorship Townhall Conversation was a member of the Anambra League of Professionals, Chike Nwegbe and Managing Editor of Telegraph Nigeria, Cheta Nwanze.

Speaking on the state of insecurity in the state, Mr. Nwegbe said “we are in agreement with most of the politicians that the major issue we have to address is how to engage our youths constructively, empower them with new skills, and again create wealth for the economy.”

Cheta Nwanze however highlighted industrialization as the top priority for the people of Anambra State; he believes that a proper drive for industrialization will ensure that the problem of insecurity, unemployment and education are solved.

When there is a plan to develop industries, there will be the need to employ people, a situation he said would mandate proper training of youths with the appropriate skills to be employed and be less interested in crime, thereby helping to reduce the insecurity in the state.

He also explained that if the next administration in the state fails to solve the problem of massive congestion and traffic delays in Onitsha town, which is the commercial hub of the state, the effect of it will be that goods from the state will be more expensive due to cost of transportation, and this will be counter-productive to the drive for industrialization in the state.

Speaking in agreement, Mr Nwegbe also highlighted that Anambra citizens are more interested in deliverables as shown in Nwanze’s demands on fixing Onitsha. This, according to him, is a proof that politicians cannot deceive them with promises anymore, but rather they will be asking for a leader that has the experience to clearly communicate and deliver on his manifesto.

Citing the statistics released by Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC) that 52% of Anambra electorates are youths from age 18 to 35, Aniago stated that the Anambra youths are ready to make good use of their voting power as the majority. He boasted that his organization has done a good job of ensuring that the youths vote by merit. Therefore, the November 16 elections will be different from what has ever been witnessed in the history of Anambra politics.

He drew attention to the current calmness in the state despite the closeness of the election as proof that the youths are now aware of their strength and therefore cannot be bought over by politicians to engage in hooliganism; rather they are busy scrutinizing the manifestos of the candidates.

Several issues were also discussed, including the character traits of the leading candidates, Dr Chris Ngige and Mr Ifeanyi Ubah who were both present at the Governorship Townhall Conversation broadcast live on Channels Television.