Wednesday, February 4, 2015
DELAY OF INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS: FG IS PLAYING HANKY-PANKY
4th February, 2015
DELAY OF INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS:
FG IS PLAYING HANKY-PANKY
The kick-off of the 2015 Nigerian general elections is just ten days away. Reports trending indicate that international observers are yet to arrive in the country. Stakeholders have already started expressing their worries over this delay.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) joins other well-meaning groups and patriotic individuals in raising the alarm about the absence of foreign observers. International observers take position in countries preparing for elections several weeks before the commencement of the exercise. This is the accepted international standard and Nigeria should not fall short of this practice.
With attempts being made to scuttle the 2015 elections and allegations going round that the Federal Government (FG) is behind these sinister maneuvers, we have every reason to believe that FG is deliberately procrastinating. In connivance with the ruling party, FG is trying to buy more time for its damage-control gimmicks to work.
MURIC rejects this hanky-panky. We assert that mandate-stealing begins with time-stealing. The future of this country remains dicey if Aso Rock does not change its happy-go-lucky mentality. We cannot continue this foot-dragging for the next four years.
The deliberate delay of the arrival of international observers exposes FG’s hidden agenda. This administration comes across as one that never intended to allow a smooth and democratic transition through a free and fair election.
FG must tell Nigerians why its embassies abroad have not commenced issuing visas to foreign journalists and observers. We nurse a strong suspicion that FG has more than one skeleton in its cupboard. Those who organize elections must be transparent in the same way that those who come to equity must come with clean hands. A higgledy-piggledy arrangement can only be calculated towards thwarting one man one vote.
MURIC charges FG to immediately and unconditionally allow international observers to enter Nigeria. This will be a bold step towards becoming democracy-compliant. A regime which claims to be embarking on transformation cannot afford to fall short of international best practices.
Finally, we appeal to the African Union (AU) to beam its floodlight on Nigeria at this crucial moment. In view of Nigeria’s population size and the implications of a humanitarian crisis in the country for the whole of Africa, the continental body should not wait any longer. The time for AU’s presence and diplomatic intervention is now.
By the same token, we extend this appeal to the United Nations Organisation (UNO) as well as the European Union (EU). The world has become a global village and whatever affects Africa may not necessarily remain Africa’s problem alone.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)