ONITSHA (Sundiata Post) – Human rights and pro-democracy group, the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety) has warned the Federal Government against setting the six states with inconclusive governorship elections on fire through presidential interference in the elections.
In a statement sent to Sundiata Post on Wednesday, the group said:
“Having carefully followed and observed the totality of negative events that trailed the 2019 rigged polls including the ‘inconclusiveness’ of six State Governorship polls and ‘suspension’ of that of Rivers State; all caused by the integrity challenged-INEC and the Buhari Government’s rigging machineries; it is our deepest fear that Kano, Sokoto, Benue and other northern States with ‘inconclusive’ polls are likely going to be set on fire particularly on 23rd March 2019 or immediately after.
“We also foresee the full resumption of politico-oil war in the Niger Delta and escalation of banditry violence or war in core northern part of Nigeria. Already the banditry violence that originally started in Zamfara State has now spread to Kaduna and Katsina States and inching, if not already enveloped the entire Northwest. This is more so when consequences of election rigging including voter intimidation and suppression has globally been found to have ‘short term and long term devastating effects’ or consequences.
“It is also a truism that the Nigerian Military particularly the Army; presently designed along ‘pro jihadist and anti secular’ lines; will be resisted with utter vehemence if deployed and unleashed on voters and general populations of Kano and Sokoto States; and Bauchi and Adamawa States to an extent. Benue State is also not out of it and is capable of going up in flames. In Kano, the voting responses of the people of the State are like a movement and religion; not capable of being compromised even at gunpoint. The responses are beyond the ‘Sabon Gari affair’ or ‘Igbo area affair’ that would have easily attracted the Federal and State might or crushing machineries.
“In Sokoto State, the Home of Caliphate, any military highhandedness or brutality in the State come 23rd March 2019 shall expressly be deemed desecration of the Caliphate or ‘Sultanate of Gobir’ and be seemed as collective affront to the entire Northern Muslims. The political consequences of unleashing military goons on the State also abound. For instance, it will be too dicey to dislodge or brutally rig out the incumbent Governor widely viewed to be popular among his people. Benue State is also dicey to be brutally manipulated. This is because the incumbent governor is already leading with over 70,000 with cancelled areas having 121,000 voting population. It will be too dicey and a time-bomb if the entire 121,000 registered voters are converted and manufactured as votes and given to his opponent. Instances above are just to cite but a few.
“Till date, INEC is unable to explain to Nigerians and others why elections were declared ‘suspended’ or ‘inconclusive’ in the opposition strongholds while in the APC controlled areas, same polls were freely and conclusively declared. What has been irrevocably and irrefutably established from the just held 2019 general polls is that the central ruling party was so unpopular and failed in governance that it was majorly rejected at polls across the country; forcing it to resort to quipping up religious sentiments and armada of rigging including brutal militarisation and military aided ballot box and result sheet snatching and doctoring. But for quipping up radical Islamism sentiments in the North, the party would have failed woefully and by landslide in the Region during the presidential poll.
“In the just held gubernatorial poll, evidence was clear; showing the ruling party credibly lost in the South-south and Southeast, Oyo, Taraba, Adamawa, Bauchi, Kaduna, Sokoto, Kano, Plateau, Benue and even in Nasarawa. If popular or all inclusive and credible gubernatorial polls were conducted on 9th March in the States of Osun, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kogi, Anambra and Bayelsa, the party would have lost; likewise in Lagos where millions of independent voters were threatened and attacked into staying off polling units; providing a field day for the ruling party to manufacture alarming result figures just as it was also done in the insurgency prone Borno State where desert ants voted to produce over 1.1 million votes for APC.
In other words, rigging and voter intimidation and militarization aside, the opposition party clearly won its governorship polls in the 19 States of Imo, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Delta, Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia, Oyo, Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Taraba, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue, Bauchi and even Lagos (minus voter intimidation against independent voters leading to boycott).
“In all these, a responsible president or presidency would have bluntly told off the likes of the embattled Governor Ganduje and asked him to go back to Kano State and face his electoral destiny squarely. Gov el-Rufai would have also been told off presidentially and barred from Aso Rock visit until after all the outstanding polls must have been conducted and concluded so as to avoid dragging the presidency into poll partisanship and meddlesomeness. Instead, the Presidency and the national leadership of its ruling party including the APC national chairman are not only canonising the poll rigging but also boasting of rigging more and nothing will happen.
Therefore, it is safe to say that the saturation point of presidential rigging of the 2019 General Polls awaits the Presidency and its military goons in Kano and Sokoto States and Benue by extension; likewise others come 23rd March. As the Holy Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been guarded and guided jealously for ages by the Muslim world from being devastated and afflicted by radical Islamism and insurgency, the Daura led Nigerian ruling cabal is an inch away from turning the Gobir Sultanate (Sokoto) and the Center of Islamic followership (Kano) into rubbles and precipice now or in nearest future.
“Therefore, Nigerians and others are watching keenly waiting to see the Buhari Government and its military goons do Kano, Sokoto, Bauchi and others the “Rivers way” and face the unquenchable consequences; which is why we at Intersociety are raising this informed alarm warning the Presidency and its military goons not to set the two States and others on fire or provoke mass explosion or breed new banditry and insurgency in the area. It is either they respect the true electoral wishes of the people of the area or have them rigged and set the area on fire.”
•Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chair
•Chinwe Umeche, Esq.
•Chidinma Evan Udegbunam, Esq.
Head, Campaign & Publicity