March 16, 2023

Igbo elders to Nigerians: Retire non-performing governors, others with your votes

By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja

THE Igbo Elders Consultative Forum, IECF, has urged Nigerians to use their votes to retire unceremoniously all non-performing governors and state legislators from politics.

The Forum warned that a failure to turn out en masse to participate in Saturday’s governorship and State legislative polls would not only lead to unimaginable chaos but also derail the hope for a new and functional Nigeria.

Chairman of the Forum and former governor of Anambra state, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, gave the warning at a briefing in Abuja on Thursday.

Ezeife said: “The Igbo Elders Consultative Forum wishes to encourage Nigerians to vote en masse in this weekend election and retire from politics all non-performing governors and legislators for a new and functional Nigeria.

“We encourage our people in various parts of the Federation, including South East, Lagos and Rivers states to go out and vote for candidates of their choice on Saturday without fear of molestation and intimidation as adequate security has been put in place for the protection of their lives and property.”

He condemned the reported intimidation, harassment and destruction of shops and other property of non-indigenes in some parts of the country, especially in Lagos and Rivers States following the February 25 presidential election, but urged the people not to be discouraged to exercise their franchise on Saturday.

“The shoddy work and unimpressive performance of INEC in the February 25 Presidential elections, the intimidation of voters and some party agents at some collation centers, the harassment and destruction of shops and property of none indigenes in Lagos, Rivers and other states in the country, as well as some incitements of some faceless scoundrels in the South East that threaten voters not to participate in the election, among other threats, should not discourage any person from voting because your votes will count in deciding who becomes your governor and state legislator.

“Please, go out and vote on Saturday as adequate security arrangements have been put in place to protect your lives and property.

“Your vote will count this time; hence you should boldly go and discharge your civic responsibility, vote out and retire unceremoniously non-performing politicians on Saturday,” he added.

Speaking also, the Secretary of the IECF, Prof. Charles Nwekeaku, described as both shocking and embarrassing, the media reports credited to the President Muhammadu Buhari that he would swear-in the candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the February 25 election, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as his successor on May 29, despite the fact that the outcome of the polls in being contested in a court of competent jurisdiction.

He said, “Both Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Mr Peter Obi the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Nigeria Labour Party, respectively have challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission’s declaration of Ahmed Tinubu as the president-elect in a controversial and fraudulently conducted election.

“Therefore, the statement credited to Mr President, which is yet to be refuted, is the height of arrogance, insensitivity, madness, unpatriotism and prejudice.

“Many credible international and local observers, including the Igbo Elders Consultative Forum have condemned that election as fraudulent, dubious and irresponsible exercise capable of setting Nigeria ablaze as INEC has failed in every material content to meet its own yardstick for free, fair and credible elections.”

Nwekeaku also took a swipe on the government over its reluctance to arrest and prosecute the culprits who destroyed the shops and other property of non-indigenes in some parts of the country, especially in Lagos and Rivers States where the ruling political parties apparently lost to the Labour Party in the February 25, 2023 Presidential election.

According to him, these heinous crimes raises a fundamental question as to whether the Federal Government is still capable of protecting lives and property of Nigerians, which is the primary responsibility of every modern government.

“We, therefore, call on the Federal Government and various state governments to rise up to the occasion of the protection of lives and property of Nigerians especially non-indigenes in Lagos and Rivers States to avoid reprisal effects and the resultant instability and destabilization of this country by the enemies of progress.

“We also demand that the victims of these unwarranted intimidation, harassment and destruction of lives and property should be paid adequate compensation and properly rehabilitated as loyal citizens of this country,” he added.