Former Principal Secretary Rivers State Government House and also a former Permanent Secretary in the Rivers State Ministry of Local Government, Chief O J. Akiri has lent his voice again on the impending political crisis in the Ivory Coast as a result of the sudden sit-tight attitude being displayed by President Allasane Quattara.
In this piece, Chief Akiri pleads with the Govt and members of Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) to speak up to avert a relapse to Laurent Gbagbo’s episode of killings and chaotic disruptions.
“There is no gain-saying that our country Nigeria by her sheer size and expansive economy, has been vested with undeniable Pan African vocation and remains the hope of black people the world over.
As members of the APC and the ruling party in the most populous black African country, we cannot afford to shirk our responsibilities by looking the other way, when we perceive the assembling of “dangerous combustibles” that may trigger an imminent conflagration in any part of Africa, particularly within the ECOWAS Sub-region.
We are hereby alerting on the imminence of a crisis of unpredictable dimension, capable of igniting an uncontrollable conflagration in Ivory Coast, if nothing is quickly done on the diplomatic front to stem the tension. Our silence as a great country may quite erroneously be misconstrued for conspiratorial mutism.
The current President of Ivory Coast, Alasanne Ouattara has been on saddle since 2010. The next Presidential elections in that country are scheduled to come up on October 31,2020. Quite commendably on the 5th of March, 2020, Alassane Ouattara openly declared to the Ivorian people and the rest of the world, that he would not be contesting the Presidential election for a third term, in consonance with the country’s Constitution that ushered him in. The country erupted in jubilation, as the world also noted with acquiescent approbation.
But on the 6th of August, 2020, bemused Ivorians and the rest of Africa, were in utter consternation when the same Alassane Ouattara recanted himself, proclaiming that that he would be contesting the Presidential elections, in flagrant violation of the Constitution. In other words, he had been bitten by the megalomaniac sit-tight bug of presumed indispensability or even necessary life Presidency à la Bokassa, trumpeting the usual and worn out refrain of third termers, in citing the imaginary “pressure of his people”.
We know that the apparently embedded aroma and alluring aphrodisiac of political power have remained the bane of several African countries. You recall the Nguemas of Equatorial Guinea, or the interred Mobutu Sese Seko of former Zaïre, not to forget the Paul Biyas of Cameroun. The sit-tight syndrome has often worsened the precarity of the already down-trodden, who in worst case scenarios of armed conflict will again be the ones to trek long distances across borders as refugees, to be horded into insalubrious camps with their scanty belongings.
Today, a Leader of the opposition and former President of that country between 1993 and 1997, who had positioned himself for the same election, Henri Konan Bédié, is now totally disenchanted and calling for a boycott of the election, unless the current President rescinds the decision of his 3rd term ambition. If not heeded, he intends to follow up this with a call for a paralysing wide-spread civil disobedience.
The paradox in all that is that the current President, Alassane Ouattara is the beneficiary of an overwhelming international pressure brought to bear on his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo, when the latter also in sit-tight rehearsal, rejected the results of the Presidential elections he contested with Ouattara, which was clearly won by the latter. That chicanery and puerile resistance of Gbagbo wasted the lives of 3,000 Ivorians, for which he was dragged to the International Criminal Court in the Hagues, on charges of flagrant human rights violation.
This is inviting our dear President and other well-meaning African governments to persuade the current President of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara, to jettison his dream for a third term, to avert for his dear country, the looming turbulence that would engulf it, amidst the dreadful challenges of the COVID 19 global pandemic”.
Chief O.J Akiri