By EMMANUEL OLONIRUHA
ABUJA- The Abuja School of Social and Political Thoughts (ASSPT) says President Muhammadu Buhari is giving the right signals for free and fair general elections in the country.
The School Director, Dr Sam Amadi, in a news conference on Thursday in Abuja, said Buhari deserved commendation for his steadfast decision not to interfere with the electoral processes.
Amadi also commended Buhari for continuously restating his determination to leave a legacy of credible elections.
He, however, decried the attitude of some politicians that creates the impression that the President would conduct the election and awards the result to his favourite candidates.
The director described the impression as a dangerous falsehood that put unnecessary pressure on the President.
“The Abuja School is worried that some politicians are making statements that suggest that the President has a responsibility to interfere in the electoral process to guarantee success for members of his party.
“It should be noted that it is Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that has responsibility to conduct the elections, not the President.
“The INEC has so far shown that it understands the huge responsibility it bears and happily President Buhari has refused to be swayed by these misbegotten statements.
“The history of electoral malpractices in Nigeria shows that it is usually the involvement of incumbent in the process of election that mostly compromise the freeness and fairness of elections.
“It is a good happenstance that in the 2023 election, the President is not on the ballot, even if his party is on the ballot.
“Attempts to shame the President into taking sides in the electoral process are efforts to further compromise the credibility of the elections,” he said.
Amadi said while it was the responsibility of the President to ensure free and fair election, the responsibility was to create an enabling environment for INEC to deliver on its constitutional mandate.
He said that the most important aspect of the responsibility was the issue of security; hence politicians should work with the President to achieve the needed peaceful elections.
“INEC has expressed worries about the growing insecurity in the country and how it is affecting its preparation for the election.
“Instead of harassing the President in respect of presumed non-support for the candidate of a party, these politicians should be pressing on the President to extract implementation strategies from the military and police chiefs.
”On how to defeat the army of terrorists, insurgents and notorious criminals who would want to undermine electoral integrity through scaremongering and criminal actions.
“The president also needs clear implementation strategies from financial regulations on how to stop vote-buying by desperate politicians.
“The on-going petrol crisis is another issue of concern that the President attention should be focused. Happily, only INEC staff and other electoral workers need to move around on Election Day.
“The president can ensure that these persons have enough petrol to move around and execute their responsibilities,” he said.
Amadi said while a lot rested on the shoulders of the President regarding secured environment for free and fair polls, it was not his responsibility to help any candidate win election.
“The President does not conduct election. No one should goad the President to act unconstitutionally and undermine his pledge to Nigerians and the international community,” Amadi said.
He advised INEC to ensure that selection of its ad hoc staff for 2023 elections was thoroughly vetted in order not to allow politicians hijack the process.
Amadi also advised INEC to do more sensitisation on the functionality of its Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to reassure Nigerians of its efficacy.
He said that was important following the decision of the Osun Governorship Election Tribunal on the issue of BVAS. (NAN)