Nigeria elections: Stop undermining our democracy – Observers’ group, YIAGA warned

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Elections observers groups, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement, YIAGA Africa and Watching The Vote Group have been warned against comments and moves that could undermine Nigeria’s democracy.

YIAGA and WVG are part of electoral observers in the just-concluded general elections in the country.

However, the two observing group had sank during the weekend called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the military to order in the course of their assignment during the Governorship and State Assembly Elections.

National Democratic Front, NDF, while desribing the demand as irresponsible, said the demand was a shameful affirmation of partisanship that should not come from any self-respecting group that ascribes neutrality to itself.

It, therefore, warned them to must immediately put a stop to undermining Nigeria’s democracy.

Dr. Bolaji Abdulkadir, Secretary General of the group gave this warning in a statement forwarded to our reporter on Sunday.

According to the statement, “With its kind of posturing, YIAGA is apparently playing a mind game in which it wants to create a scenario whereby President Buhari would be perceived as reversing himself, after earlier giving the order to the military to deal decisively with anyone snatching ballot boxes irrespective of political affiliation.

“It appears the YIAGA’s intention was to create the wrong impression that Mr President was only interested in the credibility of federal elections while state votes can go to the dog. Had President Buhari falling for the ruse and prevent the military from performing their duties during the state elections it is apparent that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), YIAGA’s employer, would have had a field by declaring that it has found its mythical smoking gun.

“The true intention of YIAGA must be further called to question as series of incidents during the elections in question confirmed that political actors, across party affiliations, are subjecting the process to untold violence. Second guessing the professionalism of the military, which was only called in to do the needful based on security report, therefore presents YIAGA as group that is disappointed that its affiliated political party was unable to cash in on violence to earn political advantage.

“YIAGA might have based its frivolous demand to the President on a fabled “assessment” of the state elections but the reality on ground proved that the military was never the issue. Rather, the problem is the posse of unpopular politicians that are yet to accept the reality of the electorate becoming better enlightened under the current dispensation. It is not possible that a better informed people will easily succumb to the propaganda deployed by persons that have no track record of delivering on their electoral promises.

“The desperation on the part of this group has seen it accused everyone but its client for the incidents recorded during the state election. In addition to the military, it has blamed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the ruling All Progressives’ Congress (APC), other security agencies, communities and every other stakeholders but itself. This attitude suggests that the group has a sole assignment of undermining the credibility of the elections.

“The National Democratic Front has nothing against YIAGA delivering its paid services to its clients in the opposition but it is pertinent that the group gives some thoughts to the number of lives that would have been lost to electoral violence had the military not deployed to offer deterrence against those that had premised their political success on the deployment of industrial scale violence. As things stand, the blood of those killed in the recorded instances of violence already cry out against organizations like YIAGA, whose crying wolf had limited the military’s ability to robustly respond to fully curtail violence.

“Our demand to YIAGA is unequivocal. It must cease its ongoing belligerence against the Nigerian state as represented by its constant attacks on the military. The group should leave Nigeria alone so that citizens can continue with the moral restructuring of their political system, which has for instance moved away from excessive money politics with prospect of the practice further diminishing in future elections. With the knowledge that the state does not approve of violence for winning elections, future elections are likewise set to be more peaceful.”

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