Toxic rhetoric, deadly threats may hamper Saturday’s guber, assembly elections, Arewa group warns — Daily Nigerian
An economic think-thank of intellectuals and business entrepreneurs in Northern Nigeria, Arewa Economic Renewal Forum, AERF, has expressed worries about the state of the Nigerian polity ahead of Saturday’s Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections.
The National President of the AERF, Ibrahim Yahaya-Dandakata, in a statement on Friday, lamented that various political actors and their teeming supporters are generating toxic rhetoric and unnecessary tension ahead of Saturday’s polls.
According to him, members of the AERF are deeply concerned and apprehensive about the atmosphere of the country’s political space.
In the statement titled, “2023 Elections and the Specter of Insecurity,” Mr Dandakata explained that the forum is particularly alarmed by the deadly threats and counter-threats shared on social media by supporters of various candidates in the elections.
He said: “The forum is of the strong conviction that unless urgent proactive measures are taken by federal and local authorities to address the alarming situation.
“The situation could snowball into a general breakdown of law and order across the nation during, or in the immediate aftermath of the elections.
“While the various candidates are entitled to their opinions on the outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, there are also constitutional means through which their grievances could be addressed without recourse to the vile language or the abuse of the doctrine of freedom of speech which does not include the liberty to incite violence among their gullible supporters under any jurisdiction globally.
“That is particularly so when their uncouth vituperations are hinged on their jaundiced permutations on the outcome of the elections.
“In the same vein, the fall-out from the untidy implementation of the Naira redesign/swap policy embarked upon by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has had devastating impact on millions of Nigerians in rural communities who lack the requisite financial literacy or access to online banking facilities.
“We, therefore, call on the CBN to urgently ensure that cash is made widely available to the same communities before the commencement of the Ramadan fasting period which commences next week.
“The forum makes the call in the knowledge that while millions of our rural dwellers have endured the unprecedented disruption to their lives with relative calm and decorum, their reaction can never be predicted when the same is allowed to impact negatively or inhibits their adherence to the provisions of their religious faith.
“It is in that respect that the forum urgently calls on the federal government and all security agencies to live up to their constitutional responsibilities of protecting the lives and properties of all Nigerians before and in the aftermath of the elections since no meaningful social or economic activities can be conducted or sustained in a situation of anarchy and massive breakdown of insecurity.
“We urge the relevant authorities to deal decisively with any politician or their supporters caught to be in breach of our relevant laws before the dark clouds hovering above the nation unleash their unpleasant payloads of sorrow, tears and blood,” the statement noted.