Ezekwesili says Buhari may not ensure peaceful elections
The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili yesterday told delegates of International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) that she was not sure President Muhammadu Buhari would ensure peace at the 2019 elections.
IRI and NDI are the bodies fielding Joint International Elections Observers Mission. The delegates are in the country to meet with key stakeholders in the electoral process and assess the pre-election environment.
The delegation is led by a former Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield; Executive Vice President for the Middle East and Africa of Grainster LLC, Ambassador Lewis Lucke; Regional Director for Africa at IRI, John Tomaszewsk and Kenya Resident Country Director at NDI, Dickson Omondi.
Ezekwesili warned that using security agents to compromise the election might lead to dangerous reactions.
She said Buhari must avert the danger of the menace that the military and the police have become to the country’s democracy “as was evident in the Osun and Ekiti elections.”
“The security forces must be pulled out of the coopted involvement in our elections, which in Ekiti and Osun disenfranchised many voters,” she said, noting that any action of the President that aims at giving him undue advantage in the February elections would amount to political corruption.
Ezekwesili who assured the delegates of promoting peace, before, during and the elections, asked them to caution President Buhari against compromising the standard of the election.
“My entry into the presidential race is to win and provide the long elusive good governance to Nigerians so that our country and people will prosper, become stable and live in harmony.
“I have raised the bar in making 2019 an issue/value-based campaign and forced the dominant parties to start focusing on the same. My candidacy is mobilising the citizens into a movement of enlightened voters who can make informed choices in the elections. My candidacy is creating a political disruption of the old extant order of a political class who have always seen politics as a means to personal wealth instead of service to the country and people.
“With my foray in politics, a new order of politicians and politically conscious citizens are emerging on the scene. Young people and women are the segment of the voting population that are most excited about my candidacy and are volunteering and donating to our campaign,” the former education minister said.
At another event in Abuja yesterday where the IRI and NDI delegates presented a statement on their third joint pre-election assessment mission, they urged security agencies in the country to shun bias and partisanship.
They said that given the nation’s persistent insecurity, perceptions about lack of neutrality on the part of the security forces could undermine the credibility of the entire process.
They noted that Nigeria would be conducting the 2019 polls against the backdrop of insecurity in the North East and middle belt and threats from non-state actors that could negatively affect the process.