Insecurity biggest threat to 2023 general elections, says CAN, IDFP
President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle Olasupo, yesterday, warned that the much talked about 2023 general elections might not hold as planned due to rising insecurity across the country.
Similarly, the co-chairman, Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDFP), Alhaji Kunle Sanni, who corroborated the position of the CAN President, raised questions about the effect of huge money expended on arms procurement in response to the insecurity across the country.
Both religious leaders spoke in Abuja at the Inclusive Security Dialogue Meeting, jointly organised by Global Peace Foundation and Vision Africa, towards social cohesion, sustainable peace and security in Nigeria.
They were worried and concerned that the political and socio-economic destiny of Nigeria was fast nose-diving, hence the need to reawaken the consciousness of Nigerians to make right electoral choices when the opportunity comes next year.
CAN President said: “If insecurity persists unabated, there will be no election in 2023. Politicians move around, campaign, and make all manner of promises without taking into cognisance the security state of the nation.
“The way things are going now, bandits and other non-state actors might overwhelm us before 2023. They are moving from one level of sophistication and recklessness to another, and unfortunately, our security agents are becoming overwhelmed. There are indications that the intelligence gathering of the bandits seem to be higher than that of the state actors.”
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the new Electoral Act, but reminded him that the Act alone cannot guarantee free, fair and credible elections that would be acceptable to majority of the people.
He charged the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to be sincere in its approach to the forthcoming elections and demanded a level playing ground for all interested persons. Also, security agents should not be used for intimidation.
He advocated a homegrown democracy that recognises the complexities of Nigeria, and ensures that resources are fairly distributed.
He said: “The six geopolitical zones should be programmed into the leadership of this nation, so that everybody will have a sense of belonging.”
Meanwhile, Sanni, in his remarks, suggested decisive action against bandits that have been killing and maiming people. He said: “Many people have been arrested for crimes of kidnapping and banditry over the years, but none has been successfully prosecuted and jailed, to serve as deterrent to others.”
He concluded that the government has lost the battle against bandits, and suggested it should resign and make way for more competent persons to pilot the affairs of Nigeria.
President, Vision Africa, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, in his remarks, said Nigeria would not be able to conduct any meaningful election, given the level of insecurity, poverty and unemployment.
He added: “The circulation of small arms and light weapons is contributing to the security challenge we have today. So, we must de-escalate tension and invest our time in promoting a culture of peace and not that of violence.”