.Electoral Act

•Insecurity may be a calculated plot to deny Igbo the Presidency- Mbazulike Amechi

•Doubts over elections, the indirect vote of no confidence on govt in power —Ohuabunwa

•FG should look into the CIA list of alleged funders of terrorism in Nigeria —Iwuanyanwu

By Anayo Okoli, Dennis Agbo, Chinonso Alozie,  Ikechukwu Odu, Steve Oko & Emmanuel Iheaka, ENUGU

Igbo Elders, leaders and stakeholders yesterday, reacted to doubts expressed by the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, over the 2023 general elections, saying the doubts are indirectly a vote of no confidence in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

Eminent Nigerians including the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Samson Ayokunle and Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar had warned on Sunday that widespread insecurity across the country is the greatest threat to the forthcoming 2023 general elections.

But First Republic politician, Mbazuluike Amechi;  a  former National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo; a former Anambra governor, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife;   the Chairman, Elders Forum of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu; APGA founder, Chief Chekwas Okorie;  and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Chief Mike Ahamba; yesterday, reacted to the fears expressed by CAN and the Sultan, saying the general elections must hold.

Chief Amechi in his reaction, said that the insecurity that is being witnessed in the country may be a calculated plot to deny the Igbo the opportunity to produce the next president of the country, insisting that no matter the situation, the presidential election and other elections in 2023 must hold.

Amechi, therefore, urged the Igbo presidential aspirants not to be intimidated by anything, including the number of aspirants from across the federation. He urged them to close ranks and come out with a consensus candidate from both All Progressives Congress, APC and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to be presented to Nigerians for the election.

“What I want Ndigbo to do is to ensure that they do not give others the chance to deny us the opportunity to produce the next President of the county. I am disturbed by the number of Igbo aspirants coming out from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.  I think they should reduce the number to one or two consensus candidates.

“While we appeal to Nigerians not to deny Ndigbo the chance of producing the next president of the country, we urge Igbo aspirants in both All Progressives Congress, APC, and PDP to work together and arrive at one or two consensus candidates to be presented to Nigerians for the election. They should not throw away their chances to other sections of the country by having many aspirants that will reduce the strength of the votes they will get at their party’s convention.

“While we have over seven aspirants from South East coming out for the presidential contest in PDP, I am sure we have up to three coming out from APC but whatever be the case, we should work together to have one or two aspirants from each of the parties so that it will be easy for them to emerge from their parties.

“I do not believe that there is anything that will stop the election in 2023. No matter the plan to scuttle Igbo chance of producing the president of the country with all manner of excuses and claims against Ndigbo including the insecurity going on in the country, the election must hold and we will not boycott it”.

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The inability to prosecute B-Haram, bandits, suggests the APC govt is working with them —Okwesilieze Nwodo

Speaking on the issue, the former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, accused the All Progressives Congress, APC-led Federal Government of conniving with Boko Haram insurgents, bandits, unknown gunmen and other groups which constitute a security threat in Nigeria in order to jettison 2023 general elections.

Nwodo, who was also a former governor of Enugu State said the inability of the federal government to prosecute the aforementioned groups suggests that it is deliberately plunging the nation into security crises.

“PDP has accused the APC government of being responsible for the security situation in the country in order to jettison 2023 elections. I am happy that other voices are joining us in raising that alarm.

“I don’t think that the security challenges in Nigeria are beyond the security agencies under the federal government. The inability of the government to arrest and prosecute a single Boko Haram insurgent, bandit, unknown gunmen, marauding herdsmen, etc, in the past seven years suggests that the federal government is conniving with them. If the government don’t want to stamp out insecurity leading to the general elections, what is their plan?

“Let them conduct elections and go away so that we bring a government that would take care of this country. I am calling on them to make sure that these 2023 elections hold.”

I’m not pessimistic about 2023—Chekwas Okorie 

In his reaction, Igbo leader and politician, Chief Chekwas Okorie said he does not agree that the high level of insecurity in different parts of the country would jeopardize the 2023 general elections.

Okorie said: “I’m not that pessimistic about the 2023 elections. Yes, there’s insecurity in the country, but  I am of strong feeling that the elections will hold and all preparation for the holding are in top gear. INEC is not relenting in its preparation; the political parties have rolled out their programmes and those wishing to contest are already busy trying to fulfil the requirements of their various political parties. These are not indications of what will not hold and I don’t know where some people are getting their fears from. So the elections will be held.”

On the areas in parts of northern Nigeria that are in control of terrorists and bandits, Okorie said: “The law has made provision for areas where INEC cannot hold an election, that is where there is insecurity, but some of the views we have about the north are mostly views expressed by people who are not there.

Northerners are in their places and the few places that are under the control of the terrorists cannot be sufficient to postpone the election of a country like Nigeria. This country is large. The country is made up of 774 local government areas and 36 states. I do not know the number of the council areas that are so much in control of the terrorists that will be sufficient to postpone an election of this magnitude.”

Doubts over elections, the indirect vote of no confidence on govt in power —Ohuabunwa

Also reacting, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa said the doubts expressed by major stakeholders in Nigeria in Abuja over the reality of the 2023 elections not holding in view of the spate of insecurity in the country, is an indirect vote of no confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

The former Leader, of the House of Representatives who spoke in a telephone interview with Vanguard in Abia, said the concern expressed by the eminent leaders represented the views of many Nigerians.

Senator Ohuabunwa, therefore, challenged the government in power to rise to the occasion and not allow the fears of the people to come through.

His words: “It’s an indirect way of passing a vote of no confidence on the government in power. They are expressing fears that many Nigerians also have.

” What they are saying in effect is that this government has not performed in its primary responsibility which is the protection of lives and property. Our lives are not safe, and that is a dangerous signal.

“In as much as we pray for the election to hold, I know it’s a wake-up call for the government in power.

“If it continues like this unchecked, then the likelihood that election may not hold is there but we pray it holds.”

FG should look into CIA list of alleged funders of terrorism in Nigeria —Iwuanyanwu

In his contribution, the Chairman, Elders Forum of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu,  called on the federal government to look into the report by the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, listing names of alleged individuals funding terrorism in the country. 

He said the need has come for the Nigerian government to step up and address the issue of those funding terrorism in Nigeria. 

The elder statesman said the concerns raised that insecurity is likely to stop the 2023 election were in order. He also called on the federal government to summon a meeting of Nigerian leaders to find a way to end insecurity.

“This is a very disturbing matter. Because I heard on Tuesday that over 50 people were killed in Plateau State. I have never seen this kind of thing before. It is terrible. How can you hold an election in a state where people are afraid to come out and vote.

“People are afraid to come out. They can’t move by air, road,  railway, we are in a state of war. America has mentioned that some Nigerians who the CIA, has mentioned are funding terrorism in Nigeria. We are expecting the Nigerian government to step up and reply whether it is true or not.

“This is a serious matter. Nigerians should take it seriously. I don’t want us to continue in the blame game. At this point, I will advise the president to call a meeting of Nigerian leaders from each region. Everybody must come together, let us put a stop to this matter.

“Another problem this country is facing is the delay in setting up state police. I don’t know what is causing the delay. State police if properly set up can take up most of the responsibilities. I feel the concern of the CAN, Sultan of Sokoto and others are in order,” Iwuanyanwu said.

God has approved the emergence of a president from Eastern Nigeria —Ezeife

In his reaction, a former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, specifically called on anyone insinuating that the 2023 general elections could be scuttled by the current spate of insecurity in the country to have a rethink.

Ezeife said that no right-thinking person, not even the agitators would like the election to be scuttled for any reason, knowing that the implications could lead to an unnecessary extension of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure or worst still, declaration of a state of emergency or even lead to military coup de tat.

 “Definitely, the 2023 general elections would hold as scheduled and not only that, a new President is eventually going to emerge from the Eastern part of Nigeria, as already approved by God Himself”.

He however expressed concern over the degenerating level of insecurity in the country in general and Southeast in particular, saying that Igbo leaders are working towards getting to the bottom of the matter.

Govt has time to ensure elections hold —Ahamba

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Chief Mike Ahamba, in his reaction, said the government still has all the time to secure the country and ensure elections hold as scheduled to avoid the country sliding into anarchy.

Ahamba submitted that Nigerians wouldn’t want a situation of anarchy, hence the need to rise to responsibility and tackle the insecurity in the country.

He maintained that it is now obvious that there are no ethnic preferences when it comes to security matters.

Ahamba, therefore, maintained that the right people should be appointed to handle security matters and not yield to ethnic preferences.

“I’m never a pessimist; I’m an optimist. My people have a proverb which says that ‘A tree that makes noise before falling should not kill anybody’.  If we know the signs are not good enough for us, then what we should be concerned about is why the signs are not good for us.”

 They should show concern for the cause of the problem, not the problem itself. That is why doctors send people for medical examinations before treatment. What is causing the concern? Why are they not sure the elections will hold? Are the reasons not clear on the wall for everybody?

“All the people need is the courage to call a spade a spade. Whoever is commanding our security agencies must make sure they secure the country to ensure there will be elections. But if there is no election, if there is a deliberate effort to make sure there is no election, the constitution allows the government to continue for another six  months, thereafter, we shall have anarchy which we don’t want.”

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