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Bayelsa, Kogi polls: Balarabe Musa, youth leader say Nigeria’s democracy under threat

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Alhaji Balarabe Musa

• ‘It’s Rehearsal For 2023’
Following the conduct and outcome of the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states, a former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, and some youths in the north said the country’s democracy is now under serious threat as a result of the violation of the electoral process.

Both Musa and the President of Arewa Youths for Progress and Development (AYDP), Danjuma Sarki, explained that the political thuggery, use of firearms against voters and killings in the two states during the conduct of the polls was a signpost to danger ahead of the 2023 general elections, urging the federal government to ensure the safety of the country’s democracy.

Besides, Musa, in an interview with The Guardian, said there was clear evidence that with recent events in the country and the use of electoral processes under the present administration, the country is heading towards political quagmire.

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According to him: “What we are now experiencing in Kogi and Bayelsa states is clear evidence that there is no qualitative electoral process and this is also clear from reading our constitution.

“Even the political parties in their own constitutions, you will see that there is no desire to have a qualitative electoral process.”

Musa, an elder statesman and leader of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), urged Buhari to save the country’s civil rule by ensuring that the electoral processes and the country’s constitution become paramount in the conduct of elections, saying the fallout of the elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states only showed the use of “power game” by constituted authority.

He added: “The constitution and the electoral laws and the constitutions of the political parties show only power game between factions of the reactionary ruling class. So, what we have been experiencing recently came to a crystalisation in Bayelsa and Kogi and are just the consequences of the type of constitution and electoral laws we have.

“For instance, does the constitution of Nigeria and the electoral laws aim at ensuring free, fair and transparent elections leading to legitimate governance at all levels and the supremacy of the voters to decide the fate of
political party, candidates and the government in power? No!

“They are all aimed at maintaining the status quo, the supremacy of the reactionary rich and powerful ruling social class.”

Musa condemned the use of arms and ammunition by thugs and killing of voters with the use of fake Police during the elections, noting that what Nigerians have seen in the two states might replicate themselves in 2023 and have negative consequences.

“In the case of treating those opposed to the government, instead of using reason and law, you use political power.

“Is that not fascism? Say for instance, the cases of El-Zakzaky, Col. Ibrahim Dasuki, Nnamdi Kanu, Omoyele Sowore and others. The President, as the father of all, should rely more on reason and law than on power. He should rely on the law where reason doesn’t work.

“But that is not happening. For instance, courts had given those people the right to be freed, while their cases continue to determine if they are guilty or otherwise. In other words, they were granted bail, but the government has refused to honour the bail by refusing to release them.

On his part, Sarki, while condemning the results of the two elections, said: “What we saw in those states showed that the country is drifting into lawlessness, because anti-democratic forces have taken over all the political processes and structure.

“You can see that the elections was militarised, thuggery was unprecedented, snatching of ballot boxes have never been this bad in the history of Nigeria. In the public glare, fake Police were shooting voters and the use of helicopter also was deployed in perpetrating the malpractices.

“What we saw in Kogi is a rehearsal of what we should expect under this government in the conduct of future elections in Nigeria.”

He also pointed out that the current social media Bill before the National Assembly, lamenting that when passed into law, “democracy will be dead in Nigeria. It will seriously affect development in Nigeria negatively. The nation will retrogress into the dark days of the military under Buhari when he enacted Decree 4 to hunt journalists and other Nigerians.”

He explained that with the Bill: “Nobody would be able to comment like people did over the illegalities carried out in Kogi and Bayelsa elections and once you comment or expose the illegalities, they will tell you that you have embarked on hate speech.

“This is a preparatory stage to Buhari’s third term agenda.”

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