The Federal Government has admonished former President Olusegun Obasanjo not to truncate the 2023 general elections with his inciting, self-serving and provocative letter on the polls.
The admonition is contained in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
The statement was made available to the media by Mr Segun Adeyemi, the Special Assistant to the President (Media) Office of the Minister.
Mohammed said what the former president framed as an ‘appeal for caution and rectification was nothing but a calculated attempt to undermine the electoral process and a willful incitement to violence.
The minister expressed shock and disbelief that a former president could throw around unverified claims and amplify wild allegations picked 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.
Mohammed recalled that the former president, in his time, organised perhaps the worst elections since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999.
According to the minister, Obasanjo is the least qualified to advise a president whose determined effort to leave a legacy of free, fair, credible and transparent elections 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 elections and a descent into anarchy.
“He 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,’’ he said.
The minister reminded the former president that organising elections in Nigeria is not a mean feat.
He said the process was not a mean feat considering the fact that the voter population of 93,469,008 in the country was 16,742,916 more than the total number of registered voters, at 76,726,092, in 14 West African nations put together.
Mohammed said that the process was not a mean feat considering the deployment of more than 1,265,227 electoral officials, the infusion of technology to enhance the electoral process and the logistical nightmare of sending election materials across the vast country,
The minister said INEC was 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 elections.
“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.
“They should allow the official electoral body to conclude its duty by announcing the results of the 2023 national elections.
“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. (NAN).