January 11, 2023
By Stephen GBADAMOSI
Afenifere, Every effort must be made to ensure that the general elections slated for February and March this year not only holds successfully, but that winners emerge and are sworn in on May 29, as stipulated by relevant laws.
This admonition was contained in a press statement issued by the Pan-Yoruba sociopolitical organisation, Afenifere, through its National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, on Tuesday.
Afenifere’s admonition came on the wake of the threat issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the seeming unabated insecurity might adversely affect the much-expected general elections that should hold in under two months.
It will be recalled that the commission’s chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, on Monday, said if the insecurity in the country was “not dealt with decisively, it could ultimately culminate in the cancellation and/or postponement of elections in sufficient constituencies to hinder declaration of election results and precipitate constitutional crisis.” spoke in Abuja through the chairman, Board of Electoral Institute, Mr. Abdullahi Zuru.
Afenifere’s spokesman asserted that Nigerians were reassured by the prompt statement by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in which he vowed that nothing would stop the elections as scheduled.
“But we feel that there is the need to let anyone thinking of postponement or cancellation of the elections that such a thing is and will remain unacceptable, no matter the reason. We recall that in 2015, there was insecurity too, to the extent that some local government areas, specifically in Borno State, were in the hands of Boko Haram terrorists.
“Yet, elections were held. There also was insecurity in 2019 and elections were not stopped,” he said.
Ajayi went further to say that Afenifere felt the need to sound “this note of warning, so that whoever may be thinking of postponing or alter the elections’ calendar should know that such a thing would not be accepted.”
“In Nigeria, there is often the tendency to fly a kite. Most of the time, such kites are on policies or steps that were usually not in the best interest of the Nigerian public. This is why it is very important to clearly sound this note of warning without any ambiguity.
“This is why we are stating clearly that Nigerians are prepared for the elections, just as the whole world is awaiting the elections. Nothing whatsoever should alter the schedule or cause is postponement let alone cancellation,” he said.
The spokesman of the organization, who quoted the INEC chairman as stating that his commission was not leaving anything to chance in ensuring that security was provided “for the conduct of free, fair, credible and inclusive elections,” encouraged the commission to be committed to delivering what was contained in this statement to Nigerians.
Ajayi added that the commission had, so far, demonstrated its commitment to giving the country an election package that would be celebrated positively.
“This is in line with various assurances that President Muhammadu Buhari had repeatedly given, that this year’s elections will not only hold, but will be free, fair and credible. He has also repeatedly expressed his desire to retire to his country home in Daura, Katsina State, immediately he hands over on May 29, 2023,” he said.
Afenifere, therefore, called on all concerned to ensure that nothing is done to suggest that these assuring words of President Buhari were a veil that could be used by “the unscrupulous to hoodwink Nigerians into a false hope.”
“So much has been invested into the forthcoming general elections. Everything must be done to ensure that the elections are held and held successfully,” the Afenifere spokesman concluded.