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Avoid provocative statements, NSCIA, Ooni, Gbajabiamila urge political class

By Adamu Abuh (Abuja), Murtala Adewale (Kano) and Timothy Agbor, Osogbo
01 March 2023   |   4:21 am
Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has cautioned citizens, especially the political class and religious leaders, against utterances capable of destabilising the country


Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has cautioned citizens, especially the political class and religious leaders, against utterances capable of destabilising the country.

The apex Islamic body, headed by Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, also urged Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remain steadfast, despite hiccups during the collation of last Saturday’s presidential election results.

In a statement jointly signed by Prof. Salisu Shehu and Subairu Haruna Usman, on behalf of the body, yesterday, the Council warned against any action or inaction of politicians that could lead the country into needless conflict or anarchy.

NSCIA’s warning came less than 24 hours after a call for cancellation of the election by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who alleged irregularities in conduct of the exercise.

The Council said: “While reckless statements from inconsequential individuals can be easily ignored, this is not so of respected political and religious leaders. It is important that patriotic and well-meaning Nigerian leaders support adherence to process and procedures in the ongoing electoral process.

“This is because any inclination to un-procedural decisions or actions, at this critical time, is a direct call for anarchy, which will not yield any positive outcome for the nation. The NSCIA counsels INEC to remain undistracted and committed to its duty until it discharges it to a logical conclusion.”

NSCIA urged Nigerians, particularly Muslims, to remain calm and prayerful during the waiting period.
IN a related development, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, appealed to all stakeholders in the presidential election, especially INEC, to be mature in their conduct and allow peace to reign.

In a statement issued by Moses Olafare, Director of Media and Public Affairs at the Ooni’s Palace in Ile-Ife, the monarch explained that Nigerians, particularly, low income earners, have been waiting patiently for the electioneering period to be over, so that they can resume normal activities.

He urged politicians and other stakeholders to channel their grievances through appropriate quarters and ensure they don’t heat up the polity.

He said the nation is yet to recover from ruins occasioned by the #EndSars protest, therefore, utterances that could heighten tension should not be tolerated.

“The imbroglio developing from the presidential election of Saturday is unnecessary, distracting and totally unacceptable. The nation does not need it at the moment. All over the world, elections are disputed. And the tension must be addressed in line with the law of the land and in accordance with best global practices.

“All politicians involved and their respective political parties, without exception, should not do anything capable of heating up the polity, as this dangerously amounts to torching Nigeria’s cohesion.

“The Ooni of Ife, in his capacity as Co-chairman of National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN), hereby, charges the nation’s electoral body to remain on the path of fairness, equity and justice as it sets to complete the process of announcing the result of the election.”

Also, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, warned against any action that could truncate democratic rule in the country.

In an address at the resumption of plenary, he enjoined persons who are dissatisfied with the outcome of the presidential poll to explore legal means to address their grievances.

He said: “The Constitution of our republic and the Electoral Act that governs elections in Nigeria both define a framework of post-election dispute resolution and adjudication.

“This framework exists to protect the integrity of our elections. It ensures that when elections fail to meet expectations, contested issues of facts and law can be resolved through a due process within a legal framework befitting a constitutional democracy.

“It is not in the interests of our country, now or ever, to advocate for or embrace extra-legal interventions to resolve electoral disputes and address grievances.

“We must avoid actions or utterances that set the stage for interventions that could be fatal to our democracy and the gains we have made over the last two decades.

“This is the time, despite whatever disappointments we may each feel, to reject considerations of partisan and other interests, to come together and make sure, first, that our country survives and our imperfect democracy continues its march towards progress and a more perfect union.”