(By Egunyanga Vincent)-
I just read somewhere that President Muhammadu Buhari has reassured the international community that the forthcoming general elections in 2019 will be free and fair, saying it will usher the country into another clime of maturity, peace and unity.
President Buhari gave the assurance when he received Letters of Credence from four ambassadors at the State House, including the Ambassador of the Peoples’ Republic of Japan, Mr Yutaka Kikuta.
The president noted that the country’s political and electoral institutions had continued to evolve in strength, skill and experience after each election.
While I commend the President for this assurance, I want to remind him that it is Nigerians that need the assurance not just the International community. Many Nigerians are not convinced that the election will be free, fair and violence free considering what we have witnessed in the last few months.
Campaign has not started and we have seen attacks on politicians, we saw attack on Sule Lamido campaign train in Jigawa, Aminu Tambuwal campaign train in Sokoto, Kwankwaso was not allowed to campaign in Kano, Rowdiness in the Senate on Wednesday because of reported cases on violence in Akwa Ibom state etc.
Not forgetting the fact that over 800 Nigerians were killed in the North when Buhari lost the 2011 elections to Jonathan. Till today nobody has been punished for that violence. We heard former President Jonathan said before the 2015 Presidential election that his ambition was not worth the life of any Nigerian. We have not heard President Buhari give that assurance so far.
Politicians should know that less than 5 percent of Nigerians get involved in political activities and less than 5 percent of Nigerians actually vote during elections. Many people who bothered to have their PVC do so for security identification not necessarily to vote. Politicians should allow us live our normal lives before, during and after the elections.
There should also be an assurance to candidates that after the election nobody will be punished for the way he or she had voted. I also want security operatives to know that their salary, guns, uniforms etc were bought with Nigerians tax payers money not donation from any political party and so must not only be neutral but must be seen to be neutral.
I also appeal to the UN, USA, EU, AU ECOWAS to be ready to impose economic, military and political sanctions on Nigeria politicians and government officials for any violence, impunity or stupidity. ( Egunyanga Vincent Facebook wall)