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ASO ROCK WATCH: Ensuring credible 2023 polls. Two other talking points




Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to go after anyone using money and thugs to influence, and intimidate voters respectively, in the 2023 General Elections.

We tracked two other stories from the seat of power, Aso Rock Villa, for your reading delight.

1. Ensuring credible 2023 polls

‘Under Buhari, Nigeria is highly respected worldwide’ —Foreign Affairs Minister, Onyeama

On November 9, President Buhari expressed his intention to fight vote buying, and the intimidation of voters in the forthcoming 2023 elections.

Speaking in an interview with journalists in London, he said: “My aim is to make sure that Nigerians believe that we respect them as an administration.”

“Nobody will be allowed to mobilise resources and thugs to intimidate people in any constituency.”

To ensure that next year’s election is credible is, no doubt, a task that must be delivered, if only to consolidate Nigeria’s democracy.

READ ALSO:ASO ROCK WATCH: Weighing Buhari’s assurances on terror threats. Two other talking points

Hence, Buhari must rise above political rhetorics, and start by ensuring that security agencies fish out and prosecute the thugs destroying the facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) across the country, and unleashing violence at campaign rallies.

Needless to add that unless examples are made of offenders, the political landscape will continue to be littered by electoral offenders who bracingly lure voters with money knowing that they would not be made to pay for their crimes.

It is never too late to act, Mr President.

Two other talking points

2. On Tinubu’s electoral chances

Tinubu’s Fulani support group decries insecurity, killings

On November 9, President Buhari predicted that the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, would emerge the winner of the 2023 presidential election.

Buhari, speaking in London, said: “Tinubu, the presidential candidate, is a well-known politician in the country. He was a two-term governor of Lagos State, the most resourceful and most visited State in Nigeria. So, I think the party was lucky to get him to be the candidate.”

Buhari’s statement aligns with his earlier resolve to market Tinubu, and ensure the continued stay of the APC in power after the expiration of his tenure on May 29, 2023.

It is, indeed, the season of political campaigns and it would be interesting to see how well the ruling party is able to persuade Nigerians to ignore all the economic woes buffeting the country, alongside perception issues creating huge disconnect in the polity.

3. Mobilizing for Minister Farouq

Minister Farouq takes over SIP initially under Osibanjo's control

The Presidency, on November 9, backed the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, amidst calls by the Bayelsa State Government for her to resign due to a statement credited to her about the flood situation in the State.

“Clearly, this is not a time for public reproach. It will only weaken our collective response to the tragedy, and ultimately hinder cooperation that saves lives, and delivers emergency aid. Therefore, calls for the resignation of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs should not even arise,” the presidency said through Buhari’s Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

The backing of the Presidency was not totally unexpected. It had to protect her own!

While it is not in doubt that Bayelsa was badly affected by ravaging floods, calling for Farouq’s resignation, over alleged misinformation on the flood, may be rather extreme.

Perhaps, some lessons learnt. A volatile country like ours requires public officials to be careful with words.

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