The federal government has welcomed the demand for credible 2019 polls by the United States and the United Kingdom and the threat by both countries to impose sanctions on election ringers and sponsors of election violence.
Both countries had on Thursday threatened to impose travel ban on those who try to scuttle next month’s general elections by instigating violence, rigging and other malpractices.
Reacting to this yesterday, the minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a press release by his media aide, Segun Adeyemi, said that the federal government was particularly delighted that the statements came just after the government had alerted the nation to the plot by some opposition elements to scuttle the 2019 polls through widespread violence.
Mohammed said, “A few days ago, we alerted the nation to the plot by the opposition to orchestrate widespread violence in the country using insurgents and criminal elements within and outside the country.
“Their plan is to scuttle the election and then push for an interim
government, having realized they can’t win free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.
“The fact that those statements came after we issued our red alert, which was based on credible intelligence, shows that the international community is closely monitoring events ahead of the election. We urge them to keep a close tab on the desperate opposition, whose language, actions and undisguised threats are antithetical to the conduct of peaceful polls.”
Asking Nigerians and the international community to take seriously the assurance of a credible and violence-free election that has been consistently given by President Muhammadu Buhari, the minister said that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration was very confident of victory in the forthcoming elections.
The minister added that a party that was not so desperate to rig election while in opposition had no business rigging election or perpetrating violence now that it is in power and is
enjoying massive support from the citizenry.
He also called on the international community to keep a close eye on those who are spending more time on a dubious strategy of scuttling the polls than campaigning to win in a free, fair, transparent and peaceful election.
“As their campaign flounders and their strategies collapse,
they have resorted to seeking power by subterfuge. That’s why they are doing everything possible to discredit an election that has yet to be held by unleashing their attack dogs on INEC, the police and the entire electoral process.
“On our part, we have confidence in the electoral process and the institutions saddled with organizing and securing the election. That’s why we have been busy campaigning vigorously across the country, attracting unprecedented, organic crowds everywhere we go.
“The party that organised an election that was later described as flawed by its own ‘winning’ presidential candidate is well known to Nigerians. That party is not the APC,” he added.
In his reaction, the executive director, Civic Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) & Head of Transparency International (Nigeria), Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), said the statement by the international community was very welcome because it did not focus on a particular side.
“It is speaking to all those involved in violence and rigging. For me, this is a good warning because many of the people who are instigating the ordinary Nigerians to go and engage in electoral violence and rig election, their families do not stay in Nigeria; they are living in a very comfortable places; they have enough money to take care of their families, leaving the ordinary Nigerians to suffer in the hands of the outcome of violence,” he said.
On his part, Chekwas Okorie said no true democrat would support the manipulation of election.
He, however, added that “in terms of international involvement, when it comes to threat of what you will do when elections do not meet your requirements or standard, to me it borders on national sovereignty.”