The Oasis Reporters
February 22, 2019
The kite of nervousness and exasperation was first flown by the governor of Kaduna state in North West Nigeria when he spoke on National television, the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA , threatening foreign election Observers against interfering in Nigeria’s internal affairs or risk going back home from the country, in body bags. Pundits saw it as a sign of nervousness and a possible intention to rig the elections, the ruling party is not sure of how the electorate would vote.
In addition to that, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Jideofor Onyeama, has told the diplomatic community not to cross the line between exhorting Nigeria on good governance and dictating to the country how to govern.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs let this drop while briefing the diplomatic community on the rescheduled general elections in the nation’s capital, Abuja.
The meeting which held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was to interact with the diplomatic corps to clarify issues surrounding the postponement of the elections and the country’s readiness as the polls come up on Saturday, February 23rd, 2019.
In the run-up to the elections, the Federal Government had on several occasions raised concerns about what it described as interference from foreign bodies.
Onyeama said, “At the end of the day, we are a sovereign nation and the line shouldn’t be crossed from exhorting us and wanting us to succeed and wanting this to be a really democratic process to dictating to us and really getting into the nitty-gritty of how we run the country which is exclusively the responsibility of this government”.
A National Commissioner at the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mustapha Leki, who represented the INEC at the meeting, said the electoral umpire had taken responsibility for the postponement, admitting that the commission may have underestimated the job at hand.
He, however, said this time, the electoral body was ready for the polls.
“I must admit that we as a commission may have somehow underestimated the realities of preparing for such an extensive nationwide deployment for the 2019 general elections,” Mr Leki said.
While speaking on the readiness of security agencies for the polls, the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, said vote buyers, ballot box snatchers and touts would be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the law while accredited observers will be protected and granted unfettered access across the country.
This comes as a contrast to the threat of shooting at sight, ballot box snatchers by Muhammadu Buhari, the country’s president.
He said, “It is an electoral offence to snatch ballot box, it is an electoral offence to buy votes and it is also an electoral offence to be used as a tout to destroy properties.
“If you are engaged in that, there is no responsible security organisation that will sit back and look at you. We will arrest you”.
However between the threat of shooting at sight order and the backing it got from the nation’s Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen Tukur Buratai and the acting Police Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, against the backdrop of a subsisting Court ruling barring the deployment of military personnel for election duty, fear filled citizens would be filing out come Saturday to exercise their right to choose their government on Saturday, February 23, 2019.
Additional reporting: Channels TV