A political activist and former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), to walk his talk by allowing the people of Edo and Ondo States to freely elect the governors of their choice in line with his recent admonition to African leaders.
He said that the Edo and Ondo state polls should be used by Buhari as a test case to prove to the world that he is sincere and ready to abide by his own words.
Recall that President Buhari, while presenting Nigeria’s General Statement at the 57th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Niamey, Niger Republic, warned ECOWAS leaders against the temptation of elongating their tenure in office beyond constitutional limits.
He noted that PMB apparently took a cue from the position recently canvassed by a former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, in an Op-Ed, where the latter advised the former ECOWAS chairman to stem the growing trend of undemocratic tendencies among leaders in the region who freely and frequently subvert the will of the people.
Saraki, who chairs The African Politeia Institute (TAPI), had in his Op-Ed in the All Africa Report titled, ‘Mali: Lessons on Elections for Nigeria and West Africa’ said: “As we strive to provide direction to Africa on the need to support democracy, we must ensure the elections in Edo and Ondo States are not rigged.
“If local government elections caused the crisis in Mali, who knows what can be the tipping point in Nigeria,” Saraki was quoted as saying.
Frank added that now that Buhari has called on African leaders to stop subverting democracy, it becomes incumbent on the heads of security agencies in Nigeria, particularly the Director-General (DG) of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Inspector-General of Police, to ensure that their operatives do not interfere in the elections in Edo on September 19 and Ondo on October 10, 2020.
“They should take a cue from Buhari’s speech and ensure we have a free, fair, credible and peaceful elections, where the votes of the people count,” Frank said.
He urged Buhari to begin his ‘African charity’ at home by ensuring that the forthcoming Edo and Ondo States governorship election are free of manipulation, intimidation, harassment of voters, violence and the illegal use of security forces to upturn genuine poll results in favour of the party at the centre.
“Anything short of free, fair and credible elections in the two states would put a lie and insincerity to Buhari’s admonition to West African leaders and cause the country a huge international embarrassment,” he declared.
He insisted that the recent hike in the pump price of petrol and electricity tariffs is another test case where Buhari should demonstrate his willingness to abide by his own gospel through respect for the wishes and aspirations of Nigerians.
“Clearly, the increases represent a final nail on the coffin of poor and vulnerable Nigerians if not immediately reversed and reviewed downwards in line with falling prices of crude oil in the international market,” he said.
He also called on the current chairman of ECOWAS and President of Ghana, Nana Akufo Addo, to call sub-regional leaders whose policies are detrimental to their people to order, saying: “a stitch in time saves nine.”
He further advised African leaders to be democratic in their dealings and to avoid the abuse of power especially human rights abuses and rigging of elections.
He called on African leaders to listen to their people and forget about selfish ambitions.
“They should at all times safeguard the sanctity of the ballot box and ensure that the choice of the people during polls are respected.
“They need to conduct free and fair elections in their countries to prevent disruption to governance by military junta as recently witnessed in Mali,” he said.