Elections: You need democratic baptism – Group blasts Buhari over threat to riggers

President Buhari

A non-governmental organisation, Advocacy for Advancement of Peace and Harmony in Africa Initiative (ADAPHAI) has slammed President Muhammadu Buhari over his recent comment on Monday regarding electoral malpractices.

Newsmen reports that Buhari, while addressing All Progressives Congress, APC’s chieftains at a caucus meeting held at party’s headquarters in Abuja, said whoever rigs the forthcoming elections or snatches ballots does so at the risk of his life.

Reacting in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Comrade Sulaimon Suberu, the group stressed that such statement was unbecoming of the head of a democratic government, saying Buhari, by the threat, exposed “the paucity of democratic principles and norms in him”.

It maintained that the President needed “a thorough democratic baptism” to completely fit in to a democratic setting where the rule of law and civility reign supreme other than force and brigandage.

According to the group, Buhari’s comment was capable of inciting people into violence and causing chaos instead of using legal means to address wrongs and maintain decorum and peace.

ADAPHAI therefore called on international community and other global democratic institutions to monitor political events in Nigeria with keen interest and never hesitate to speak against any tendency that could truncate democratic process and plunge the country into avoidable crisis.

“While the electoral act (2010) prohibits anyone from snatching electoral materials, with penalty of conviction to 24 months imprisonment, Nigerians were shocked to hear the Chief Security Officer of Nigeria threatening outright killing of would -be-offender without trial.

“It is even worse when such statement was made at the time when the unexpected postponement of elections last Saturday is heating up the polity and generating fuss amongst Nigerians.

“We were taken aback by this unguided utterance of President Buhari and worry about what it portends for our fledgling democracy and the nation at large.

“We make bold to say that Buhari’s statement is obscene as it is inciting, it is indeed unbecoming of a head of democratic nation and the Chief Security Officer of a country.

“In view of this, we think President Buhari needs thorough democratic baptism, this latest development has really exposed the pattern of his political psyche and level of understanding of democratic governance.

“We therefore call on global democratic institutions to develop keen interest in the political happenings in Nigeria and caution gladiators, who by their utterances and actions dragging the nation to chaos.

“It is obvious that any political unrest in Nigeria would lead to a serious humanitarian crisis on the continent of Africa and adversely affect global economy and peace, hence, the need for concerted efforts to avert crisis.”

ADAPHAI however implored the electorate not to be deterred by the turn of events, enjoining them to go out en masse and participate actively in the electoral process to strengthen democracy in Nigeria.

The group also advised Nigerians to be peaceful and maintain decorum during and after the elections, adding that elections could only be free, fair and credible in a peaceful atmosphere.


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