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#NigeriaDecides2023: FG warns Obasanjo against disrupting electoral process

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The Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari has urged former President Olusegun Obasanjo not to truncate the 2023 general elections with his allegedly inciting, self-serving, and provocative letter on the polls.

In a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said what the former President “cunningly” framed as an “appeal for caution and rectification” was nothing but a calculated attempt to undermine the electoral process and a willful incitement to violence.

“Though masquerading as an unbiased and concerned elder statesman, former President Obasanjo is a known partisan bent on thwarting, by subterfuge, the choice of millions of Nigerian voters,” the Minister said.

Mohammed expressed shock and disbelief that a former President could purportedly throw around unverified claims and amplify “wild allegations” picked up from the streets against the electoral process.

The Minister accused the former President of, in his time, organising “perhaps the worst elections” since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999, adding that he is the “least qualified” to advise a President whose determined effort to leave a legacy of free, fair, credible and transparent election is “well acknowledged” within and outside Nigeria.

As the whole nation waits with bated breath for the result of last Saturday’s national elections, amid unnecessary tension created by professional complainants and political jesters, what is expected from a self-respecting elder statesman are words and actions that does tension and serve as a soothing balm.

“Instead, former President Obasanjo used his unsolicited letter to insinuate, or perhaps wish for, an inconclusive election and a descent into anarchy; used his time to cast aspersion on electoral officials who are unable to defend themselves, while surreptitiously seeking to dress his personal choice in the garb of the people’s choice. This is duplicitous,” he stated.

The Minister reiterated to the former President that organising elections in Nigeria is no mean feat, considering that the voter population of 93,469,008 in the country is 16,742,916 more than the total number of registered voters in 14 West African nations put together at 76,726,092.

“With a deployment of over 1,265,227 electoral officials, the infusion of technology to enhance the electoral process, and the logistical nightmare of sending election materials across our vast country, INEC seems to be availing itself creditably, going by the preliminary reports of the ECOWAS Electoral Observation Mission and the Commonwealth Observer Group, among other groups that observed the election.

“Therefore, those abrogating to themselves the power to cancel an election and unilaterally fix a date for a new one, ostensibly to ameliorate perceived electoral infractions, should please exercise restraint and allow the official electoral body to conclude its duty by announcing the results of the 2023 national elections.

“After that, anyone who is aggrieved must follow the stipulated legal process put in place to adjudicate electoral disputes, instead of threatening fire and conjuring apocalypse,” he added.

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