Northern, Southern elders warn of dangers ahead of 2023 elections 

Political leaders and elder statesmen from different parts of the country have expressed concerns over recent incessant attacks on facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), ahead of next year’s general elections.


This is even as the chairman of the electoral umpire, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has raised the alarm of the threats the attacks pose to the successful conduct of elections next year.


Yakubu, had while appearing at the National Assembly, warned that the incessant attacks on its offices and facilities across the country, posed serious threats to the 2023 polls.


“The attacks have far-reaching implications on preparation for the general election. First, the facilities that are destroyed, especially offices, would take time to rebuild. They are not like items of procurement that you can procure off the shelf. So, an alternative arrangement has to be made.


Commenting on the development, Ohanaeze Ndigbo blamed the renewed insecurity in the South East, considered to be the epicentre of the attacks on political interests from outside the zone.


National Publicity Secretary of the group, Dr. Alex Ogbonnia told Saturday Sun that some people he did not name were sponsoring and promoting the heist to discourage or frustrate elections in the region, next year.


According to the Ohanaeze spokesman, “the grand plot to frustrate the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, in his home base of South East with insecurity will fail.


“People are sponsoring the insecurity externally. For them, the more disarticulated and destabilized the people of South-East are, the happier and better prepared they are about winning elections.


“The security operatives in Nigeria, including the armed forces and the rest, sometimes are blind to the level of insecurity in the South East. They are not in any way living up to their responsibilities.


“But most importantly, we, the people of the South East must continue to work hard and make sure that the vandalism on of INEC facilities stops because this election is very important to us.”


Apex Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, while speaking through its spokesman, Mr Jare Ajayi, described the attacks as very unfortunate.


The scribe said “these attacks on INEC offices are not a good omen for 2023. It is a threat to the general elections and everything must be done to stop the ugly development as these attacks are not a positive development for our democracy.


“The attacks we believe are coming from those forces who don’t want the elections to hold, but whether the enemies of democracy want it or not, the elections must hold.


“We condemn in totality these attacks, and any attempt by any individual or group to take the law into their own hands. There are appropriate lawful channels for anybody that is aggrieved to seek redress instead of taking laws into their own hands.


General Secretary of Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Dr. Kunkle Olajide, said: “These attacks are very unfortunate and I believe that it is those who have axes to grind with the government that are behind it. However these enemies of democracy must not be allowed to succeed.


“If these attacks remain unabated, it may threaten 2023 general elections and INEC has already raised alarm to that effect. But the elections must hold. We should not allow these unpatriotic elements to sabotage the elections.


“We must encourage democratic practices to grow in the country. The attacks should not be allowed to stop the elections from holding.


“Security agencies should rise up to the occasion by arresting those behind the attacks. President Buhari should give marching orders to the security agencies to take decisive action on the issue.


Dogo Isuwaz, spokesman of Middle-Belt Forum, said: “These attacks are pure acts of criminality. They should be treated as acts of national sabotage, and those behind it should be arrested and prosecuted. These attacks are unacceptable. The perpetrators should be brought to justice. They should not be allowed to go scot-free. The Federal Government should not allow these attacks to fester.”


Shettima Yerima, President of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum said: “The people behind these attacks are those who want to undermine the 2023 general elections but they must not be allowed to have their way. 2023 is important to Nigeria and the elections must hold. Federal government must take appropriate measures to protect INEC offices. Those behind the attacks must also be arrested and punished.”



(Saturday Sun)





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