The Northern Elders Forum, NEF, has raised dust over threats to the elections and national security, saying that no region should be allowed to scuttle the credibility of February 25th polls.
A statement in Abuja by the Director, Publicity and Advocacy, NEF, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed called on the Buhari-led administration to excercise authority on any group or region that may threaten the successful conduct of the elections.
Baba-Ahmed claimed that some groups in the Southeast have threatened to truncate the polls, which he said had resulted to burning of government buildings and killings.
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He therefore called on the Southeast leaders to condemn such attacks and mobilise their people to ensure safe elections.
The statement read: “Northern Elders Forum has noted a serious rise in the pitch of groups that threaten the conduct of the elections, particularly from violent groups in South Eastern States.
“The deafening silence from leaders, elders and politicians from the region and other parts of Nigeria over these dangerous threats is also deeply disturbing. These threats are being followed by actual attacks on government buildings and killings, including killing of policemen in the region. Without a robust challenge of these dangerous trends, those behind these lawless acts are likely to assume that they will succeed.
“It has been the consistent position of the Forum and other patriotic groups that the 2023 elections must hold throughout the length and breadth of Nigeria.
“Any attempt to interfere in the rights of Nigerians to participate in the election of their leaders is a serious assault on the sovereignty of Nigeria and an act that must be resisted.
“Nigerians want a credible election and a peaceful transition to the next administration, and no group should be allowed to plunge the nation into deeper crises by tolerating threats to the elections and peace in the country.
“A threat to the elections is a threat to the democratic system, and the very foundations on which the nation rests.If it succeeds, this threat will signal the start of other crises the country may not recover from.
“The Forum calls on the administration of President Buhari to assert its legitimate authority on any lawless group in any part of the country and ensure that voters are not prevented or threatened. Leaders must openly condemn these outrageous threats and assure citizens who want to vote that they can do so. Politicians who want to lead us must step out and condemn these threats.
“For the avoidance of doubt, these threats from groups in the South East are cowardly and childish. Nonetheless, those behind them should know that they will be resisted.”