Last Saturday, the 19th march, 2016, a National and State Assemblies re-run elections took place in Rivers State of Nigeria.
However, the elections were marred by violence, killings, shooting and snatching of ballot papers.
Also, there were reported arrest of fake military and police officers dressed in uniforms recruited by desperate politicians by security forces during the elections.
Also during the election, the Secretary to the Rivers State, Kenneth Kobani was arrested together with bands of well-armed thugs on a mission to kill and maim.
An assassination attempt was made on the life of the former All Progressives Congress governorship candidate, Dr. Peterside Dakuku by supporters of the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike yesterday in Port Harcourt.
So fa, the Independent National Electoral Commission has cancelled elections in eight Local Government Areas of the State because of violence. The Independent National Electoral Commission has gone farther to suspend all further action concerning the exercise as a result of continued threats,violence and intimidation of electoral officials and voters by well armed thugs and miscreants allegedly acting on behalf of unscrupulous politicians which marred the election in some areas.
Undoubtedly, Rivers State has been in a state of turmoil for the past few weeks. There have been random and gruesome killings, be headings and wanton destruction of property are carried out by militants armed with lethal weaponry. Generally a great sense of insecurity pervades in the State.
President Muhammadu Buhari has shown great patience and restrained in dealing with the situation in Rivers State but the time to take tough measures to bring to an end the civil war between militants, secret cultists and desperate and roguish politicians has come now.
I therefore urge President Buhari to exercise the powers vested on him by Section 305 subsection 3 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and declare a State of Emergency in Rivers State to save lives and property and restore peace and stability.
According to Section 305 (3) of the Constitution, the President shall have the power to Issue a Proclamation of a State of Emergency only when-
(a) the Federation is at war;
(b) the Federation is in imminent danger of invasion or involvement in a state of war;
(c) there is actual breakdown of public order and public safety in the Federation or any part thereof to such extent as to require extraordinary measures to restore peace and security;
(d) there is a clear and present danger of an actual breakdown of public order and public safety in the Federation or any part thereof requiring extraordinary measures to avert such danger;
(e) there is an occurrence or imminent danger, or the occurrence of any disaster or natural calamity, affecting the community or a section of the community in the Federation;
(f) there is any other public danger which clearly constitutes a threat to the existence of the Federation; or
(g) the President receives a request to do so in accordance with the provisions of subsection (4) of this section.
Undoubtedly there is actual breakdown of public order and public safety in Rivers State of Nigeria to such extent as to require extraordinary measures to restore peace and security.
There is also is a clear and present danger of an actual breakdown of public order and public safety in Rivers State of Nigeria requiring extraordinary measures to avert such danger.
The procedure for proclamation of a State of Emergency by the President is outlined in Section 305 subsections 1 & 2 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria thus:
“(1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the President may by instrument published in the Official -Gazette} of the Government of the Federation issue a Proclamation of a state of emergency in the Federation or any part thereof.
(2) The President shall immediately after the publication, transmit copies of the Official -Gazette of the Government of the Federation containing the proclamation including the details of the emergency to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, each of whom shall forthwith convene or arrange for a meeting of the House of which he is President or Speaker, as the case may be, to consider the situation and decide whether or not to pass a resolution approving the Proclamation”.
In the event a State of Emergency is declared in Rivers State, it will not be the first time such will be declared in the country. The country has experienced four or so declarations of State of Emergency in the past 50 years.
In the 1962, a State of Emergency was declared in the defunct Western Region to stem an intractable political crisis. The then Prime Minister, Sir Abubukar Tafawa Balewa appointed Dr Moses Majekodunmi Sole Administrator and the then Premier, Chief S.L.A Akintola was suspended from office.
On the 18th May 2004, the then President Olusegun Obasanjo declared a State of Emergency in Plateau State by invoking Section 305 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 suspending the then Governor Joshua Dariye and the Plateau State House of Assembly following protracted sectarian violence that erupted in the State.
In 2006 , also the then President Olusegun Obasanjo declared a State of Emergency in Ekiti State and appointed retired Brigadier General Tunji Olurin as Sole Administrator following the refusal of 24 legislators of the Ekiti State House of Assembly to allow the then Deputy Governor, Mrs Olujimi take over after the then Governor, Ayo Fayose fled the State
On the 31st December, 2011, the then President Jonathan declared State of Emergency in some Local Government Areas in Bornu and Plateau States.
In May 2013, the then President Jonathan declared State of Emergency in Adamawa, Bornu and Yobe States following unprecedented bombing of places of worships, markets and public places by Boko Haram insurgency.
Note the views expressed herein are strictly my personal opinion.