The Federal Government has urged former President Olusegun Obasanjo not to truncate the 2023 general election with his “inciting, self-serving, and provocative letter” on the polls.
The Federal Government, in a statement it issued on Tuesday by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said what Obasanjo framed as “an appeal for caution and rectification” was an attempt to undermine the electoral process and a willful incitement to violence.
Mohammed said the former President threw around unverified claims and wild allegations against the electoral process.
“Though masquerading as an unbiased and concerned elder statesman, former President Obasanjo is in reality a known partisan who is bent on thwarting, by subterfuge, the choice of millions of Nigerian voters,” he said.
The minister stated that Obasanjo, during his regime, organised the worst election since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999, saying he is the least qualified to advise President Muhammadu Buhari “whose determined effort to leave a legacy of free, fair, credible and transparent election is well acknowledged within and outside Nigeria.
“As the whole nation waits with bated breath for the result of last Saturday’s national elections, amid unnecessary tension created by professional complainants and political jesters, what is expected from a self-respecting elder statesman are words and actions that douse tension and serve as a soothing balm.
“Instead, former President Obasanjo used his unsolicited letter to insinuate, or perhaps wish for, an inconclusive election and a descent into anarchy; used his time to cast aspersion on electoral officials who are unable to defend themselves, while surreptitiously seeking to
dress his personal choice in the garb of the people’s choice. This is duplicitous,” Mohammed added.
The minister noted that the 2023 general election is not a mean feat, “considering that the voter population of 93,469,008 in the country is 16,742,916 more than the total number of registered voters at 76,726,092, in 14 West African nations.”
“With a deployment of over 1,265,227 electoral officials, the infusion of technology to enhance the electoral process and the logistical nightmare of sending election materials across our vast country, INEC seems to be availing itself creditably, going by the preliminary reports of the ECOWAS Electoral Observation Mission and the Commonwealth Observer Group, among other groups that observed the election.
“Therefore, those arrogating to themselves the power to cancel an election and unilaterally fix a date for a new one, ostensibly to ameliorate perceived electoral infractions, should please exercise restraint and allow the official electoral body to conclude its duty by announcing the results of the 2023 national election.
“After that, anyone who is aggrieved must follow the stipulated legal process put in place to adjudicate electoral disputes, instead of threatening fire and conjuring apocalypse,” he said.