Having critically analysed the political intrigues that led to the postponement of #NigeriaDecides2019, earlier billed for February 16, 2019, Yours Truly, without mincing words, say that if nothing is done to tackle the High Level PARTISANSHIP of Nigeria’s apex electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other institutions of State such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Military, the Police and other paramilitary agencies, as well as the Department of State Services (DSS), then, Nigeria is at the CROSSROAD, the Presidential/National Assembly Elections, as well as the Governorship/State Assemblies Elections, now billed for February 23, and March 9, 2019, may not hold.
If no drastic measures are taken for a massive overhauling of these institutions of state tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the #NigeriaDecides2019 is Credible, Free, Fair, Transparent and Peaceful, Yours Truly, fears the May 29, 2019 HANDOVER date may not be SACROSANCT.
The fears of Yours Truly, is largely reinforced by the body language of President Muhammadu Buhari and his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), particularly, as exhibited glaringly on National Television, when they had their APC CAUCUS MEETING.
Let it be reiterated that President Buhari and the ruling APC are not ready to conduct a CREDIBLE, FREE, FAIR, TRANSPARENT and PEACEFUL 2019 Elections.
As it stands, today, to them, IT IS EITHER THEIR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY. To them, it is either Buhari is re-elected, by hook or by crook, or there is no #NigeriaDecides2019.
There is nothing happening today, in Nigeria, that Yours Truly, has not written about.
It would be recalled that on January 6, 2019, in the conclusion of a piece entitled, “HAJIA AMINA BALA ZAKARI: THE MANY CONTROVERSIES PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI COURTED FOR HIMSELF PUTS NIGERIA AT THE CROSSROAD THIS 2019?” Yours Truly, among other things, had advised thus:
Having chronicled where Hajia Amina Bala Zakari and his maternal uncle/god-father President Muhammadu Buhari are coming from, Yours Truly, joins millions of other Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora to call on Mr. President to infact, REORGANIZE the current composition of INEC.
Assuming but not conceding that Hajia Amina Bala Zakari is not in any way related to President Buhari, with Buhari’s actions and inactions over her continued stay at INEC, when all her contemporaries had bowed out, since 2015, Yours Truly, says, as far as #NigeriaDecides2019 is concerned, like millions of other Nigerians, as well as many of the opposition political parties, I have NO CONFIDENCE whatsoever in the would-be outcome.
Nigeria is currently rift with tension, infact, Nigeria is at the crossroad, over the continued stay of Hajia Amina Bala Zakari as a critical member of INEC.
President Muhammadu Buhari, unnecessarily courted this recent controversy for himself and government.
For Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora, other political parties, as well as the International Community, to take him serious in his New Year Message ‘vow’ to conduct a CREDIBLE, FREE, FAIR and TRANSPARENT 2019 Presidential Election, Yours Truly, affirms that:
1. The 2019 election be immediately postponed until a later date that will not fall alien to provisions of the 1999 Constitution as it regards the May 29, HAND-OVER DATE, pending when INEC is REORGANIZED for optimum performance.
2. Professor Yakubu Mahmood (INEC chairman); National Commissioners Hajia Amina Bala Zakari (North West); Dr. Antonia Taiye Okoosi-Simbile (North Central); Alhaji Baba Shettima Arfo (North East); Dr. Mohammed Mustapha Lecky (South South) and Prince Soyebi Adedeji Solomon (South West), ALL BE EASED OUT OF INEC, using DOCTRINE OF NECESSITY.
I repeat, Nigeria is at the crossroad because of the controversies President Muhammadu Buhari has courted for himself.
If Mr. President does not RELIEVE the personalities abovementioned of their jobs in INEC, and goes ahead with the 2019 Presidential Election, come February 16, 2019, whatever untoward happens, Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora, as well as the International Community MUST HOLD PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI RESPONSIBLE.
WAY OUT OF THIS CONUNDRUM
Tied to the Conclusion of my piece of January 6, 2019, I again make the following recommendations:
1. Amid the Peace Pact signed by all Presidential Candidates, President Muhammadu Buhari remains the man in the eyes of the storm. He should therefore, forthwith stop making incendiary or inciting statements on #NigeriaDecides2019.
I have called on Mr. President to make that EXPECTED BOLD STATEMENT, that he would ACCEPT DEFEAT and RELINQUISH POWER, if he loses this forthcoming Presidential Election.
But HELL NO! Mr. President has on countless occasions such opportunities were offered to him, BLATANTLY REFUSED to say so.
How do we reconcile the fact that President Buhari continues to use the rhetoric- “IMPOSSIBLE,” “NOBODY CAN UNSEAT ME.”
Nigeria has never had it this bad, in the conduct of elections, since the 2011 Electoral Reforms set in.
2. I, reiterate that Professor Yakubu Mahmood (INEC chairman); National Commissioners Hajia Amina Bala Zakari (North West); Dr. Antonia Taiye Okoosi-Simbile (North Central); Alhaji Baba Shettima Arfo (North East); Dr. Mohammed Mustapha Lecky (South South) and Prince Soyebi Adedeji Solomon (South West), et al, ALL BE EASED OUT OF INEC, using the DOCTRINE OF NECESSITY.
3. Tied to this, all RESIDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSIONERS across the 36 States, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, should also ALL BE EASED OUT.
As it stands today, INEC is already DIVIDED along party lines. #NigeriaDecides2019 is already boxed into a looming crises, if these proactive measures are not taken to cleanse the whole place of INEPTITUDE and PARTISANSHIP.
4. The 2019 election rescheduled for February 23 and March 9, 2019, be immediately postponed until a later date that will not fall alien to provisions of the 1999 Constitution as it regards the May 29, HAND-OVER DATE, pending when INEC is REORGANIZED, and ALL ELECTION LOGISTICS READY, for optimum performance.
5. Not only the Presidential Candidates should sign a PACT, as it stands, all the heads of institutions of state involved in ensuring the #NigeriaDecides2019 is CREDIBLE, FREE, FAIR, TRANSPARENT and PEACEFUL MUST be made to sign a PACT that the Nigerian People, as well as the International Community, hold them RESPONSIBLE, should the elections transcend into VIOLENCE in any part of the country.
The heads of the CBN, Military, Police, DSS and other paramilitary agencies MUST be made to SIGN this PACT, going forward.
Lastly, if Nigeria and Nigerians come out of this current political debacle, and if the Nigerian people still yearn for an INDIVISIBLE, PROSPEEROUS nation, Yours Truly, affirms that:
1. Nigeria either RESTRUCTURES or BURSTS.
2. Nigeria’s Presidential and Governorship terms limits should be a SINGLE TERM of FIVE YEARS, to avert the endless HIGHFALUTIN TENSION, in the land, particularly when Presidents and Governors are going for SECOND TERMS.
Ikenna Asomba is a Journalist and Social Commentator.