'Stay Away From Edo Governorship Elections' - HURIWA Warns President Buhari
With few days to the September 19 governorship election in Edo state, HURIWA group has counselled President Muhammadu Buhari to play the role of a statesman by staying neutral in the course of the exercise.
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has warned President Muhammadu Buhari not to interfere in the forthcoming Edo State governorship election
The rights group made the plea in a statement by its National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko on Monday, according to Vanguard.
The group said it was completely out of order for President Muhammadu Buhari to be seen as extremely concerned about the outcome of a state election when he is holding office on behalf of the entirety of Nigerians and not the President of All Progressives Congress.
Emmanuel said; “HURIWA wants the President, Muhammadu Buhari to be a statesman and not interfere in the coming election in Edo state to select the governor of the state. HURIWA says it is completely out of order for President Muhammadu Buhari to be seen extremely concerned about the outcome of the election when in actual fact as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he is holding the office on behalf of the entirety of Nigeria as he is not the President of All Progressives Congress.
“The Nigerian President is by his oath of office expected to be above board and must not be seen actively promoting one-sided agenda but should be the champion of a pan Nigerian agenda.
“We have observed with shock and disappointment that the campaign council set up by the All Progressively Congress headed by the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, flew into Benin, the Edo state capital on a presidential jet belonging to all of Nigeria.
“If this trending news report is anything to go by, then we absolutely condemn this reckless display of political rascality and flagrant abuse of power which offends section 15(5) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which states that, ‘he state shall abolish all corrupt practice and abuse of power’ ”
Emmanuel faulted the alleged use of a Presidential jet by the chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, campaign council for Edo election, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, describing the development as a breach of the 1999 constitution (as amended
He continued: “We, in HURIWA view this naked show of reckless executive power manifested in the illegal use of the people’s jet for a partisan affair such as conveying the campaign team of the APC to Benin City as reported which we believe is meant to tell the electoral umpire that the President’s mind is that the electoral process be manipulated in favor of the party that controls presidential power which incidentally is the appointing authority of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
“We hereby warn INEC to ensure that the governorship poll is free, fair, transparent, and peaceful. INEC must not be intimidated by the federally controlled security forces or should they out of intimidation already displayed by the fact that the presidential jet was deployed to convey the campaign team of APC, to then manipulate the electoral process.
“We want to caution INEC that any attempt to rig the poll may not augur well for the stability of Nigeria.” Onwubiko further warned the two major political parties, the APC and PDP to play by the rules by ensuring that any form of harassment, inducement, or intimidation of voters is avoided.
The group also called on security agencies to exhibit the highest form of professionalism, warning that they must not allow themselves to be used by politicians for their selfish gains. In what appears a pointer to the possibility of a re-run, HURIWA charged INEC to do everything possible to conclude the election and produce a winner on the first ballot.
He added: “HURIWA wants the Edo state governorship poll to b a credible election. As stated by experts, we agree that inclusive elections provide equal opportunities for all eligible citizens to participate as voters in selecting their representatives and as candidates for election to government.
“This right to participate is a broad concept and can only be subject to reasonable restrictions that are provided by law.
“Authorities must take steps to assess and remove any barriers to the participation of all citizens.
“This includes removing barriers for traditionally marginalized populations such as ethnic, religious, or linguistic minorities; women, youth or elderly citizens; and persons with disabilities.
“Reasonable restrictions on participation should be narrow, like a minimum age for voting and standing as an electoral contestant."
It further condemned the stationing of military vehicles in the residence of Adams Oshiomhole, until recently, the national chairman of the APC.
"We condemn the reported posting of soldiers to protect the former national chairman of APC M.Adams Oshiomole. This report if proven amounts to gross abuse of power by the President because soldiers ought not to be posted as gatemen. This is against the constitution of the Nigerian Arm forces as can be seen from relevant provisions from section 217-220.”