The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, has cautioned against the use of security personnel to compromise the 2019 general election.
A statement issued by her campaign organisation on Wednesday night said she expressed these feelings during a meeting with a delegation from the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute on a joint elections observer mission.
She said, “The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Offices must take due cognisance and avert the danger that the military and police establishments have become to our democracy as was evident in the Osun and Ekiti governorship elections.
“The security forces must be pulled out of the co-opted involvement in our elections, which in those two gubernatorial elections disenfranchised many voters. Nigerians want a new direction and the President must avoid actions that suggest he wishes to suppress the aspiration of the people in the 2019 elections.
“Any action of the President which aims at giving him an advantage in the February elections amounts to political corruption since he is using his political power for personal gain as a candidate.”
The IRI and NDI high-level delegation had been in Nigeria since December 14 to meet with key stakeholders on the electoral process and assess the pre-election environment.
The delegation was led by a former Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs ,Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield; Executive Vice President for the Middle East and Africa of Grainster LLC , Ambassador Lewis Lucke; Regional Director for Africa at IRI , John Tomaszewski and Kenya Resident Country Director of NDI, Dickson Omondi.
The delegation met with the ACPN presidential candidate in Abuja before meeting with President Buhari.
Ezekwesili urged the delegation to caution the President against compromising the standard of the election.
She said, “The delegation and the international community should join the Nigerian people to prevail on President Buhari to practicalise the peace accord with exemplary actions in order to build confidence in the process.
“The most crucial thing the President must do to build the confidence of all contestants and the Nigerian people is to sign the Electoral Amendment Bill 2018 into law. Should he fail to do so, we must encourage the National Assembly to override the President and enact the bill to an Act.”
On her part, Thomas-Greenfield said the visit was to ensure a free and fair election in Nigeria.
“The delegation would like to gauge the thoughts of contestants and their level of preparation for the upcoming elections in 2019 because your insights will be most useful for the delegates’ understanding of the political environment in Nigeria ahead of the 2019 general elections,” she said.