The Federal Government has advised former President Olusegun Obasanjo not to truncate the ongoing 2023 general elections with his inciting, self-serving and provocative letter on the polls.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed gave the advice in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja.
Mohammed said what Obasanjo cunningly framed as an ‘appeal for caution was an attempt to undermine the electoral process.
He added that Obasanjo’s letter aims to wilfully incite violence.
The minister expressed shock that a former president could amplify wild allegations picked from the gutter against the electoral process.
“Though masquerading as an unbiased and concerned elder statesman, former president Obasanjo is, in reality, a known partisan.
“He is bent on thwarting, by subterfuge, the choice of millions of Nigerian voters,’’ the minister stated.
Mohammed recalled that the former president organised perhaps the worst elections since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999.
According to him, Obasanjo is the least qualified to advise a sitting president.
President Muhammadu Buhari aims to leave a legacy of credible and transparent elections.
Nigerians acknowledged this so well, he added.
“As the nation waits for the result of last Saturday’s national elections, what is expected from a self-respecting elder statesman are words and actions that douse tension and serve as a soothing balm.
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“Instead, Obasanjo used his unsolicited letter to insinuate, or wish for, inconclusive elections and a descent into anarchy.
“He used his time to cast aspersion on electoral officials, who cannot defend themselves.
“He surreptitiously seeks to dress his personal choice in the garb of the people’s choice.
“This is duplicitous,’’ he said.
The minister reminded the former president that organising elections in Nigeria is not a mean feat.
This is considering the fact that the voter population of 93,469,008 in the country was 16,742,916 more than the total number of registered voters, at 76,726,092, in 14 West African nations put together.
Mohammed said that the process was not a mean feat considering the deployment of more than 1,265,227 electoral officials, the infusion of technology to enhance the electoral process and the logistical nightmare of sending election materials across the vast country,
The minister said INEC was availing itself creditably, going by the preliminary reports of the ECOWAS Electoral Observation Mission.
And the Commonwealth Observer Group, among other groups that observed the elections.
“Therefore, those arrogating to themselves the power to cancel an election and unilaterally fix a date for a new one, ostensibly to ameliorate perceived electoral infractions, should please exercise restraint.
“They should allow the official electoral body to conclude its duty by announcing the results of the 2023 national elections.”
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