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Muslim Group Declares Calls For Elections Postponement Is “Conspiracy”

Jonathan, Buhari

By Ayo Balogun, Lagos – Following the rash of excuses coming from different quarters suggesting reschedule of the coming general elections, a Non – Governmental organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has warned “overzealous politicians” and those behind the “conspiracies” to exercise restraint and come back to their senses.

The group faulted the raging insurgency in the North Eastern Nigeria; disqualification controversies of the two major candidates – President Goodluck Jonathan and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari; alleged health complication of the opposition candidate; threat of Military take over as well as advocacy for interim government as inadequate factors to stop or re-fix the February voting exercise.

“Exempting the North East from elections because of the Boko Haram saga will send the wrong signals to the outside world. It will also be interpreted as victory for the insurgents. Nigeria must not surrender so easily. What we need is the political will to hold elections in the troubled zone and to call the bluff of the trouble makers. Other crisis-ridden areas of the world have done it. Elections have been successfully held in Iraq several times in spite of the prolonged war. Afghanistan and Pakistan have also dared the Taliban and held elections” MURIC established in a press statement issued Tuesday in Lagos, by its Director, Professor Ishaq ‘Lakin Akintola.

The human right organization warned that people in the North East should not be callously disenfranchised, stating “whoever has been basing his chances of victory at the 2015 polls on prolonging crisis in the region must be taught a lesson”, while the surviving population must be allowed to cast its protest vote.

“Postponing this coming election is out of the question. Such postponement will be an unprecedented act of cowardice. Who is afraid of the 2015 polls? The Federal Government must not renege on its pledge to the Nigerian people. The law of the land must be obeyed. Election is the only universally recognized tool for peaceful change in a democracy.

“Those who contemplate or plot a temporary return of the military are building castles in the air. Military rule or intervention is no longer fashionable anywhere in the world. It is even an anachronism in the Nigerian context. Nigerians want change, smooth change via free and fair election. They are thirsty for the juice of liberty after six years of stagnation, institutionalized corruption, inept leadership and undisguised hatred for certain sections of the population” the group declared.

It described the attempt to disqualify General Buhari (rtd) as mean, ludicrous, infantile and wholesomely malicious, arguing that the certificate debate was needless, as the opposition candidate was contesting for the fourth time, asking whether there was any time he contested past elections without being cleared by the electoral body.

“Why is the Nigerian Army not clearing the air on this issue? Is the army aware that this can ricochet? Are we ready to impugn the integrity of our army generals after fighting for the country and after serving us in different capacities? This will go beyond Buhari if the Nigerian Army is not forthcoming. What goes round comes around. It will expose to ridicule any general who wants to contest an election in future. Or is this how we should treat our war heroes?” Prof. Akintola queried.

MURIC stressed it wondered why the Military Spokesperson remained silent while its retired General was called “an illiterate”, insisting that it has a duty to respond to question.

The organization accused the ruling party of being too desperate, despite its 16 years in power, as well as propaganda machinery which it held has gone senile. The ruling party it attacked was nervous therefore would recommend an “hourly checkup of its blood pressure until the elections are over”.

“Neither will the attention of the Nigerian electorates be distracted by this pettiness. Nigerians are rooting for integrity and credibility, not for empty certificates.

“MURIC is not surprised by the poverty of principle in the ruling party’s campaign camp since the party chose somebody who is still facing corruption charges as its director of media and publicity. A serious political party deserves better” Prof. Akintola challenged.

He described those pursuing court cases seeking to stop President Jonathan from contesting the 2015 Presidential election were creating clogs in the wheel of progress, calling on Nigerians to be pragmatic as this was not the time to stop any of the candidates, if peace must reign.

The organization appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remain focused and should be wary of disqualifying any candidate at this stage in order to avoid plunging the nation into crisis. It also called on all stakeholders to stop creating unnecessary impediments as the elections approach.

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