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Nigerians already frustrated, don’t tamper with general elections – Afenifere warns Buhari

Nigerians already frustrated, don’t tamper with general elections – Afenifere warns Buhari

Posted: January 31, 2023 at 2:21 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has insisted that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Nigerian government and all stakeholders must ensure that the forthcoming general elections and the handing-over on May 29 this year hold as scheduled without any form of alteration.

The group on Monday in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Jare Ajayi, expressed concerns over the possible manipulation and truncation of the general elections.

Afenifere warned that “Nigerians will not accept to live under any arrangement that offends the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria” and therefore cautioned the judiciary against allowing themselves to be used to abort the elections.

The group, while also expressing concerns over the trauma Nigerians are experiencing in getting fuel and the new Naira notes, challenged the federal government to provide solutions to the fuel scarcity and naira notes swap and other energy problems in the country.

Afenifere said the Judiciary should not allow itself to be used to imperil the Nigerian democracy through what it described as “unhelpful and perhaps frivolous litigations such as the one brought by one Chief Ambrose Albert Owuru wanting to stop the forthcoming presidential election.”

The group said that “The contrived pains can be seen in the unabated insecurity, heightened difficulties in getting fuel, in getting new Naira notes and in getting other energy sources such as electricity, gas, kerosene and diesel.

“If the difficulties being experienced in these areas continued and Nigerians begin to react, their (peaceful) expression of frustration may be used as an excuse to want to tinker with the democratic experiment going on. Such would not be acceptable in any way.”

Recall that the ACF spokesperson, Baba-Ahmed, on Friday disclosed that there were insinuations that the elections may not hold, alleging that “some kind of unconstitutional contraption may be forced on Nigerians after May this year.”

But Afenifere, which said it agreed with ACF in its warning, however warned that “Nigerians will not accept to live under any arrangement that offends the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

According to the group, even though it had been strident in its call for a constitution that would usher in a Restructured Nigeria, the citizens, for now, had no choice other than to abide by the constitutional provisions, especially on how to change governments democratically in the country, which, according to it, is through the electoral process as well as peaceful handing-over to the winner.

The group said that “From the beginning of January this year, Nigerians have been calling on the CBN to extend the deadline. The calls were predicated on the non-availability of new Naira notes and the impossibility of being able to have the ones on hand swapped for the new ones before the expiration of the deadline on January 31.

“The new notes were difficult to obtain either inside the banks, on the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) or from the POS.”

Although it appreciated the eventual extension of the deadline to February 10 by the CBN, Afenifere pointed out that the pains and losses suffered by Nigerians last week would have been avoided “Were the extension of the deadline announced much earlier.”

According to the group, “There, indeed, is a need for the government, particularly the CBN Governor, to apologise to Nigerians over these avoidable pangs and losses that they suffer – and are still suffering.”

Afenifere also faulted the approach being adopted by President Buhari and the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to address the claim that the new financial policy was aimed at those “holding illicit/stolen naira in their homes for speculative purposes,” saying that the policy was rather harming the poor.

“If the authorities truly aimed at using the policy to catch those allegedly holding illicit/stolen money in their vaults, there are various legal and institutional frameworks to deal with this.

“For instance, there is the aspect of the law that prescribes that banks must notify security agencies once a person or an organisation receives or pays out huge sums of money. Why not use that instrument to deal with the situation rather than making life difficult for hapless Nigerians carrying out financial transactions in tens, hundreds and thousands of naira only?

“It is quite punitive, inhuman, inconsiderate and insensitive. The government and related government agencies need to ensure that such does not repeat itself,” Afenifere said.

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