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2023 elections: FG to Obasanjo: don’t truncate electoral process

The Federal Government has asked former President Olusegun Obasanjo not to truncate the 2023 general elections with his ‘’inciting, self-serving and provocative letter” on the elections held last Saturday, February 25.

In an open letter addressed to President Buhari on Monday, February 27, Obasanjo raised concerns over the discrepancies in last Saturday, February 25 elections. He stated that there are allegations of some INEC officials being compromised and paid to do what they are not supposed to do. He said to avoid causing uproar in the country, the right thing must be done. He suggested that in areas where the elections were flawed, a repeat should be conducted on March 7.

Reacting to his letter, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, in a statement released, 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 wilful 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” Mohammed said

The Minister 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. He accused the former President of organizing “perhaps the worst elections” since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999, during his tenure, 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 douse 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 said

The Minister reiterated to the former President that organizing elections in Nigeria is no joke, 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 the 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 arrogating 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 said

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