The upcoming 2023 general election in Nigeria is facing a severe threat of cancellation due to the wave of insecurity in the parts of the country, according to a warning issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). However, the federal Government has reassured the public that the elections will be held as planned and that there is no threat to the election.
INEC’s warning came as reports surfaced that attacks have persisted in the country, even after the deadline of December 31, 2022, to end all forms of terrorist criminality. Despite this, the Government maintained that the electoral body is working closely with security agencies to ensure the smooth conduct of the polls.
In response to inquiries from the media about INEC’s warning, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, stated that the federal Government’s position is that the 2023 elections will be held as planned and that nothing has changed that position. He added that security agencies are working tirelessly to ensure that the elections are conduct in a peaceful atmosphere, and there is no cause for alarm.
INEC’s chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has stated that if the insecurity in the country is not dealt with decisively, it could ultimately lead to the postponement or cancellation of elections in sufficient constituencies, hindering the declaration of election results and potentially precipitating a constitutional crisis.
Despite the federal Government’s assurances, the pan-Yoruba social cultural organization Afenifere has warned against postponing the 2023 general elections. In a press statement, Afenifere emphasized the importance of conducting the polls successfully and declaring the winners on May 29, 2023, as stipulated by the nation’s laws. The organization noted that Nigerians had been reassured by the prompt response of the Minister of Information and Culture, who has vowed that nothing will stop the elections as scheduled.
Afenifere also emphasized that in the past, even amidst insecurity, elections were held in Nigeria, referencing the 2015 and 2019 elections, which took place despite the presence of insecurity. They felt the need to sound a warning so that anyone considering postponing or altering the election calendar should know that such a thing would not be accepted.
In Nigeria, there is often a tendency to float trial balloons or “fly kites” regarding policies or steps that are not in the public’s best interest. The organization emphasized the importance of clearly sounding a warning to protect the Nigerian public.
In conclusion, Despite the alarms raised by INEC, the Nigerian Government and some social and cultural organizations have reassured the public that the 2023 general election will be held as planned and that there is no threat to the polls. They are working with security agencies to ensure that the elections are conducted smoothly.