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World Rights Day Message Of Intersociety

By International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
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A Speech Delivered By Emeka Umeagbalasi At The 2013 Anniversary Of The

UDHR (World Rights Day) Organized By Anambra State Branch Of The Civil

Liberties Organization(CLO) Held In Onitsha On 08/12/2013

Topic: Understanding Credible Elections As A Pillar Of Popular Government

& Development: A Case Of Anambra State Of Nigeria
(Onitsha Nigeria, Tuesday, 10th of December, 2013)-On behalf of the

leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law,

I pay a sincere tribute to the founding persons of the Universal

Declaration on Human Rights, enacted on 10th day of December, 1948 (65

years ago). The chairperson of the UN 18-member committee of seminal

thinkers that worked tirelessly and produced the all-important global

document; late Mrs. Elizabeth Eleanor Roosevelt, is particularly

remembered today by Intersociety. Also, particularly important and worthy

of mention is one of the great thinkers of the 20th century, Mr. Woodley

Wilson, who was popularly credited as the first international leader to

mention the concept of “human rights” in his famous “14-point program” for

the formation of the League of Nations in 1914. Mr. Woodley Wilson was

then the visionary President of the United States of America.

Though, “human rights” as part of “religious rights” has been in existence

as far back as 304 AD, it became part of Europe and Americas' post

conflict transformation mechanisms starting from the Roman Empire's 30

years civil war of 1618, which ended in 1648 to the 2nd world war of 1939

to 1945. The concept of “human rights” was crudely mentioned in the all

forerunners of the United Nations, starting from “ the Holy Alliance”

(1648-1818), “the Concert of Europe” (1818-1919), to “the League of

Nations” (1919-1945/6). But the concept became seminally pronounced in

Woodley Wilson's 1914 famous 14-point program for the formation of the

League of Nations, finally formed in 1919. The journey to the present day

UDHR being marked in 225 independent countries and occupied territories

around the world actually began in 1941 courtesy of the “Atlantic Charter

of 1941”,issued in August 1941 .
The then leaders of the Great Britain and the United States, Sir Wilson

Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt came together and agreed on “human

rights and democratic freedoms” (self determination as a right of the

people and freedom from want and fear). This landmark feat made it

possible for successful convocation of other world leaders' conferences

leading to the historic formation of the UNO on 24th of October, 1945. The

UN Charter was originally signed on 26th June, 1945 by 50 countries

leading to successful lobbying by 40 NGOs in the San Francisco Conference

of same year and time for the internationalization of human rights

including basic freedoms and freedom from want and fear.

After the successful formation of the United Nations in 1945, a body

known as “UN Commission on Human Rights” was set up in 1946 under the

leadership of Mrs. Elizabeth Eleanor Roosevelt with other 17 members.

Mrs. Roosevelt was a well known rights activist and widow of late US

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who died in 1945. The Committee's

fundamental task was the “definition of human rights and freedoms” within

the contemplation of the UN Charter. Other major contributors to

successful production of this famous document then, who are worthy of

mention today are Rene Cassin (France), Charles Malik (Lebanon), Peng

Chun Chang (China), Herman Santa Cruz (Chile), Alexandre Bogomolov Alexei

Pavlov (USSR/Russia), Lord Dukeston Geoffrey Wilson (United Kingdom),

William Hodgson (Australia) and John Humphrey (Canada). On 10th of

December, 1948 in Palais de Challot, Paris, France, the famous global

document was enacted and signed by over 30 countries present through

their representatives.
The link between human rights and popular polls is strong and a truism.

What credible democracy is to Nigeria is what “truth and reconciliation”

mechanism, which originated from the Southern America, is to the Union of

South Africa. Popular polls and human rights are like biological

encirclement, which goes round without ceasing. Human rights friendly

environment engenders participatory/popular polls, which in turn, produce

popular government and when a government is popularly instituted and

legitimized, human and material development becomes abundant. A government

propelled by popular votes and development has a combination of input and

output legitimacy to its credit. No matter the quantum of physical

development embarked upon by a government, once it lacks popular electoral

foundation, it ends up wearing the toga of mechanical legitimacy. This is

always the fundamental difference between Obi's legitimate government and

Ngige's illegitimate regime in our beloved State. When a government is

popular and development oriented, the masses rejoice and human rights

environment fares better. Illegitimate civilian government founded on

electoral banditry is worst than a military government.

Human rights and credible democracy are inseparable. This explains why the

granting of independence and organization of transitional polls were the

first fallout of the formation of the UN and the enactment of the UDHR in

1945 and 1948 respectively. Following from this was the granting of

independence to India and Pakistan in 1947, Israel 1948, Sudan 1956,

Ghana 1957, Guinea 1958, Nigeria 1960, to mention but a few. Where the

colonial masters refused to grant same, the colonized armed themselves

with “right to self-determination” and fought for their self-governance

until it is achieved. Instances of this abound, Angola to Mozambique;

Zimbabwe to Zambia; and South Africa to Namibia. As the saying goes,

“democracy may be the worst form of government and governance, but the

best form of same has not been found and in absence of this, democracy

remains the best”.
The fundamental question is: what are credible polls? Fundamentally,

credible polls are determined by “living votes” as against “dead votes”.

When people of voting age (18 years and above) who have registered to

vote, file out diligently and submit themselves for accreditation on poll

day arising from the voters' register, after which they queue up and

thumbprint with their fingerprints on valid ballot papers and their votes

counted and entered into result sheets, collated and announced with a

winner and a loser emerging; the aggregate votes of theirs become “living

votes” and the outcomes are called “credible polls”. Any voting process

that falls short of these expressly yields “dead votes”. In determining

the sacredness/sanctity of “living votes”, one thousand “living votes” are

worth more than one million “dead votes”. In law, any poll premised on

“living votes” is beyond judicial revocation. “Living votes” are also

unknown to the axe of the judge's ratio decidendi and long arm of the

“technical justice” in matters of poll litigation.
The governorship poll in our beloved State of Anambra, held on 16th of

November, 2013 and completed on 30th of the same month, may have come and

gone, but lessons arising from it will remain indelible. It was one

election too many. For us in the rights community, it was a test case. It

was a battle of wits between “sedentary rights activists of

Igbo-Southeast” and “pastoral rights activists of Igbo extraction”,

milked and quartered in the Yoruba-Southwest of Lagos Nigeria, who joined

forces with one of the worst opposition political alliances in Africa, in

the name of “revolutionary progressives”. Their so called “poll

monitoring roles” were purely a failed coup and vendetta mission. The

“pastoralists” applied all guerrilla tactics known to them and their

“progressive comradely” political alliance to upturn the sacred political

destiny of the Anambra People including importing and masquerading

thousands of fake ballot papers' thumb printers and when all their

criminal plots got foiled by security agencies, they relocated to the

pages of sectionalized and sensationalized Nigerian Newspapers with

intent to blacken the poll's credibility.
As “sedentary rights activists”, it is our duty not to allow any attempts

to deny our people right to choose their leaders democratically. We must

insist on doing the right thing and ignore “Nigeria's disgusting labeling

culture” of giving a dog a bad name so as to hang it. It is better to be

labeled “a trader” than to be labeled “an armed robber”. Some of these

“comrades of military juntanism” condemned us for choosing decent trade

occupation instead of armed robbery and stealing, yet we put food on

their tables from time to time through comradely begging and assistance.

Some of them asked us for “loans”, given and not given, yet they turned

around and labeled us “mercenaries”, “merchants”, “clowns”, “charlatans”,

etc. If one out of every ten “occupational rights activists” fits into

the labeling above, then nine out of every jobless rights activists are

worst than the former. Our detractor comrades became unsettled when they

noticed that we have transformed ourselves academically and vowed not to

stop until we become doctors of philosophy in ivory towers. Or is it that

university education closed when they graduated? You must always remember

the theory of “Ojukwu versus Gowon”. The theory simply tells us that

there is no lateness in education. Today, it is a case of “Assoc.

Professor” and “parental master's degree holder”.
Fellow Comrades, your contributions towards the all-sector transformation

of our beloved State in the past seven years will forever remain in gold.

Between 2003 and 2006, you fought gallantly for the restoration of the

culture of one person one vote in our dear State and chased away

electoral criminals from the State's corridors of power. In June 2006,

having achieved this great feat, you began the journey for the

transformation of the State through constructive and transformative

partnership with the government you popularly instituted. For “pastoral

Igbo rights activists”, you are “shopping” from the Government of Anambra

State, but for you who wear the shoes and know where they pinch, you see

food but choose to fast for the collective good of our beloved people.

Always remember that criminal government invests heavily on individuals

willing to do its criminal biddings for the purpose of acquiring

mechanical legitimacy, but legitimate government invests hugely on people

from whom its natural legitimacy is derived.
The same political criminal gangsters, chased away years ago from our

beloved State cycled again with utter ferocity and accompanied this time

around by a number of “pastoral Igbo rights activists” so as to take over

our beloved State in a crudest manner, but you fought gallantly and

dwarfed them, by exposing all their reprehensible plots to crown their

candidate next governor of Anambra through “Oshogbo manufactured votes”.

Until they came to our beloved State on a failed civilian coup mission,

they had taken our beloved State to be as socially disastrous as “Oshodi”

and “Ajagunle”. But, their eyes could not believe what they saw on the

ground all over the State. It was a case of supporting a man with “Okada

popularity” against another, whose is predicated on “mass

movement/consciousness”. It is always better to run “government on the

ground” than to run a showbiz or an “owambe” or a media government.

Lastly fellow Comrades, remain resolute and unyielding. Do not see your

choice of occupation as a wrong choice. As human beings, we have three

fundamental tasks on earth: to work, to eat and to render service to

humanity. Occupationally, you must work and eat. Your joining human rights

crusade is not to “eat”, but to render service to humanity. This is why

you should help me spread the message to other comrades including some of

them in Lagos part of the country, “working and eating” with human rights,

which make them willing tools in the hands of Africa's most violent and

militant opposition political alliance, to look for decent jobs or

occupations even if it means being a graduate-hawker. Human rights works

do not belong to “business enterprises”, but “not-for-profit

establishments”.
Starting from my days as your chairman, I have never stopped educating

those of you with limited education to dust yourselves up and head back to

school. This is because as it is difficult asking a brilliant JSS 3

student to go and teach “economics” in the university, so it is, faring

well in the field of rights activism with limited education. Rights

activism comrades with limited education are always known to us as “police

station and libertarian comrades”, while academically grounded rights

activism comrades end up as “egalitarian, formidable and reformative

rights comrades”.
I am happy to announce to you that today my message has turned in about

ten graduates/graduating students including your chairman, who joined

rights activism years ago with WASC. He is now a master's degree student

and reporter with the Sun Newspapers. He told me clearly that it is not

academically over yet until he earns an academic “doctor of philosophy”.

The challenge before us now is to take over the human rights community in

the Southeast and put our detractors out of relevance. We must also

insist on engaging the electoral process, because if we allow political

criminals to take over the polity, anarchy and backwardness will become

the societal norm to be dislodged no more. We must use personal

intellect, ICT resources, volunteerism and in-kind resources to cushion

the effects of declining “dollarization of rights activism” in our

beloved country. This is to ensure that the absence of dollars does not

affect the speed of our rights advocacy works. It will also engender

neutrality and institutionalize human rights with local contents that are

outside the dictates of white man and his dollars.
This Speech Is Pricelessly Dedicated To Late Dr. Nelson Madiba Mandela

(1918-2013).
I Wish His Soul Permanent Peace.
Thank You.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Onitsha Nigeria

+234(0)8180103912, 8033601078
[email protected]