• Warn FG, INEC not to play into hands of centrifugal forces

Uba Group


As far as the 2023 general elections are concerned, Nigerians are not ready to entertain any pranks from the authorities, The Point can report authoritatively. Stakeholders are insisting that nothing must be allowed to prevent or interfere with the conduct of the elections.

Notable Nigerians who spoke with The Point minced no words in charging the Federal Government, the Independent National Electoral Commission and the various security agencies not to let Nigerians down. There has been growing apprehension that the elections, which will kick off in 12 days’ time, with the Presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25, may be scuttled and frustrated.

While politicians are busy with their hectic campaign schedules, certain developments across the country, particularly in the last one and a half months of this year, have continued to cast a pall of doubt on the possibility of the elections being held, and Nigerians have said they are not ready to countenance any excuses from the authorities.

Those who spoke with The Point urged the concerned authorities not to toy with the patience of the suffering masses, who had been yearning for a change of batons in a democratic and constitutional way by postponing the polls. One of the members of Afenifere, a socio-cultural organisation for the Yoruba people of Nigeria, Niyi Owolade, said Nigerians were already waiting for an end to the present administration and that it was only through an election that such an exit could be carried out.

While throwing his weight against any purported idea of postponing the forthcoming polls, Owolade, a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Osun State, said Nigerians would hold the chairman of the electoral umpire responsible for his words because he had nearly always told the world that the elections would hold. “Well, Nigeria is a peculiar place.

The indicators on the ground are not favourable. However, the National Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has clearly stated that the elections would be held. So, if he has said that, he is the one that should know, I mean in terms of the technical angle, the operational angle, the whole set-up. There is nobody that is in a better position to say whether the election will hold or not than the National Chairman of INEC and he has said that it will hold. “So, I am supporting the election.

“We are in a democracy and election postponement has been said not to always be in the best interest of the public. Four years is enough for INEC and the Federal Government to give Nigerians a transparent and credible election devoid of hitches”

We want the election to be held. We are in a democracy. For four years, we prepared to face the people. I know that there is one party, especially, that wants the election postponed. Why should it be postponed? We are all in this together, except they are seeing what we are not seeing and except some things are biting them harder than others. So, if others support that elections should be held, so be it.”

In his remarks, Spokesperson for the Tinubu/Shettima Campaign Organisation in Osun State, Remi Omowaiye, said nothing should be allowed to stop the election. “We are in a democracy and election postponement has been said not to always be in the best interest of the public.

Four years is enough for INEC and the Federal Government to give Nigerians a transparent and credible election devoid of hitches.

We don’t see anything that should make this election not to hold, whatever they might be planning to extend it must not be allowed to materialise,” the All Progressives Congress stalwart and former Commissioner for Works and Transportation in the state said. Speaking to The Point, the National Coordinator, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, Emmanuel Onwubiko, expressed optimism that the polls would hold. Onwubiko, in a telephone conversation with our correspondent, said, “There is no doubt that the election must proceed as scheduled. There’s no fear, the only snag we have now is the fear of insecurity, which has been there since this administration came on board; they have not done anything about it, anything concrete to stamp out insecurity, and there is the threat of terrorism across the country.

“Let’s hope that the Military, in particular, will live up to their promise that they are going to beef up security across the country because, for now, Nigeria does not have the Police.

We don’t have a policing institution; our policing institution has totally collapsed because the Police have shown incapacity to withstand the attacks by all kinds of nonstate actors.

Across the country, they are bombarded and attacked but they don’t seem to be capable of defending themselves, let alone defending the entire nation. “For now, the internal security operations are left in the hands of the Military – the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.

So, with the help of these three segments of the Armed Forces to keep to their agreement and their loyalty to the nation and go ahead to provide security for life and property, there’s no doubt that the elections will be held as scheduled.” Legal luminary and politician, Friday Nwosu said the election would hold and even according to the INEC schedule. He argued that there was nothing on the ground to justify a postponement of the elections.

“There’s nothing showing me that elections will not be held. Elections will be held and must be held as scheduled. If there is anything that’s saying it will not hold, somebody should let me know. The fears people are expressing are unfounded.

INEC said the election would hold as scheduled, the political parties said the election must hold, they are ready, and the security agencies are also giving assurances, so I don’t see what will make the election not hold even as scheduled,” he noted. The National President of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Tommy Etim Okon, told The Point that he wasn’t nursing any fear of the elections not holding. He, however, warned that the authorities must be careful not to play into the hands of those who had been scheming to see the elections postponed.


According to Okon, the elections not being held means that “we would have played into the hands of those who have already had a predisposition for the shifting of the polls.” Okon said that the confidence that the elections would hold had allowed his association to “take things easy and tell the government to do the needful to ensure the success of the polls.”

“I don’t have any fear about the elections not being held. The elections must be held and that’s why we are also taking things easy and telling the government to do the needful.

A lot of people are calling for the postponement of the elections because of the scarcity of cash and fuel. But we are totally against that.

This is not the first time we have had such challenges. The election must go on so that we can elect another government,” he said. On the reported insecurity in the country as well as fears about preelection violence in several states in Nigeria snowballing into post-election violence which could disrupt the polls, Okon said that those incidents had always been there and were indicative of signs associated with what he called a bad government. However, he said they should not be the basis for shifting the polls.

Former National Auditor of the People’s Democratic Party, Ray Nnaji, differed in his reaction. Nnaji said holding an election depends on what the government does with the cash crunch and fuel scarcity. “If this cash crunch continues, the election will not hold.

And other factors by INEC will contribute to it because INEC seems not to be ready, but they are saying they are ready and they are using this cash crunch as a problem which the Central Bank of Nigeria removed them from. From the look of things, I am foreseeing that the election may be shifted because it’s remaining less than 12 days.

But what I am saying is that if this cash crunch and fuel scarcity continues, in less than two weeks to the election, the possibility of holding the election may not be there. “Fuel is N400 per litre here in Enugu. I don’t know how much it is in other places. Currency and fuel are the two major factors that drive elections. If they are lacking, how can you conduct elections?”

The Lagos State Chairman of the PDP, Philip Aivoji, said, “For us in the PDP, we believe the election should hold. Anything to delay the election is against the people and it’s a way to manipulate the election. That is why some people are clamouring that the election must be postponed and it’s coming from the APC camp. “We know how they used to manipulate elections, which is unacceptable to all well-meaning Nigerians. They’ve never participated in a free and fair election.

It will not be accepted, that day is sacrosanct. The election must be held on February 25, if Prof Yakubu knows that he wants to be transparent.” Spokesperson for the Obi/Datti Campaign Organisation, Tanko Yunusa, said the electoral umpire was ready and so there should be no talk of postponement of the elections by any means and under any guise.

He called on Nigerians to rise and challenge any group, forces or powers calling for a postponement of the elections. “I watched the INEC chairman, who stated very clearly that they were already training officers that would handle the election. It is a confirmation that the election will be held on the 25th of February, 2023 and that goes well with what we are shouting about.

There are centrifugal forces who are trying to form a case against the election because they want to manipulate the system, not because they are interested in a credible election. “Nigerians should rise up and challenge this, and give support to INEC so that they can conduct this election under a free and fair atmosphere.

No violence should be acceptable just like the attack on us, led by Tinubu’s thugs. But we are resolute, Nigerian youths are resolute. Any attempt to postpone this election may cause more disaffection than is currently in the country at the moment.

So, people should be warned, all those that are trying to make sure this country is ungovernable will be totally resisted because that is unacceptable,” he said.

Group cautions politicians against dragging Military into politics The Unity Advocacy Group, a civil society organisation, has also cautioned politicians against dragging the Military into politics.

The group, in a statement by its Convener, Ifeanyi Aigbedion, on Sunday in Abuja, condemned a purported tweet by Femi Fani-Kayode, which alleged that some military officers met with a presidential candidate in Abuja. Aigbedion alleged that in the tweet, Fani-Kayode insinuated that such a meeting could disrupt the elections, destabilise the country, set Nigeria on fire and incite chaos. He added that the allegation was capable of causing more tension in the country in view of the already politically charged atmosphere. The UAG convener said they were deeply concerned about underground plots by some disgruntled elements to derail the nation’s march to a stable democracy.

“We are concerned more, of attempts to draw the Armed Forces of Nigeria into the political arena. This is capable of setting the nation on fire. A close observation reveals that the Armed Forces under General Lucky Irabor have subordinated themselves to democratic tenets and will never align with anyone to draw the country backward.
“UAG is not here to defend anyone, or any of the political parties, but to advise politicians to allow the will of God prevail in the ongoing political process.

They must learn how to give and take. From our observation, the Military, already engaged in various operations aimed at restoration of peace, will continue to support the growth of our nascent democracy. Drawing them into the political arena is a disservice and must stop,” he stated. NSA,OBASANJO,CANWARN Last week, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, assured Nigerians that they would be given adequate protection during the elections.

The NSA gave the assurance on Tuesday after a closed-door meeting with the Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, who visited him in his office. Speaking with journalists at the end of the meeting, Monguno said his agency and others had continued to have fruitful discussions towards giving the electoral umpire and eligible voters a favourable security atmosphere for the conduct of the elections. He said, “We have had several meetings with the chairman of INEC.

We know what we have done. We are sure of what we have on the ground. All of us here who are the managers of security in the electoral process know what we’re doing. We are not in any way in doubt but we need to let the entire country know that agents of bad news are peddling all kinds of stories around, we see these on social media.

“If these are intended to scare people, I want to dispel such illusions. Everybody that is concerned with carrying out his legitimate undertaking, casting his or her vote will do so in a secure atmosphere. It is very important that Nigerians are not pushed to the limit where they will abandon their number one responsibility as citizens. All security agencies are up to the task.”

Also last week, former President Olusegun Obasanjo expressed hope that nothing would stop the conduct of the general elections scheduled for February 25 and March 11.

Obasanjo spoke while hosting the members of the Board of Trustees of the African Democratic Congress at his penthouse residence located within the premises of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.

Obasanjo spoke against the backdrop of the concerns by many Nigerians that the election might be postponed, following the growing hardship and protests created by the naira and fuel scarcity. The former President said the attention of the global community had shifted to Nigeria’s election and therefore Nigerians as main stakeholders should contribute towards the success of the elections.

“We are in an interesting period in Nigeria. In less than three weeks, we will be going to the polls, well, I hope nothing will intervene against that. In less than three weeks, we will be electing a leader that will pilot the affairs of Nigeria for the next four years from May. And all of us in Nigeria, again, as I have said to you, early this morning, I have been in Togo, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire from the beginning of the week, from Sunday and they are as concerned about what happens in Nigeria as every Nigerian should be,” he said.

Likewise, the Christian Association of Nigeria, on Saturday, warned that no excuse would be accepted from INEC because it had more than enough time to prepare for the 2023 general elections.

The religious body charged the electoral umpire to ensure that the upcoming elections were seamless, credible, and violence-free. In a statement by CAN President, Bishop Daniel Okoh, the association told INEC that it had four years to prepare for the polls and as such, there shouldn’t be any excuse for failure. It called on security operatives to beef up security in violence-prone communities to ensure no one was disenfranchised.