Why FG Must Conduct Elections In North-east, By Nyako, Gaidam, Shettima

Source: thewillnigeria.com

BEVERLY HILLS, CA, April 09, (THEWILL) - The Adamawa State governor, Murtala Nyako; his Yobe and Borno States counterparts, Ibrahim Geidam and Kashim Shettima, respectively, on Wednesday, called on the Federal Government to start making preparations to conduct the 2015 elections in their states despite the prevailing insecurity.

Maintaining that the Federal Government must not make the mistake of not holding elections in the three North-eastern States, the governors said lessons must be learnt from Afghanistan which despite the threat from the Taliban held election in the country last Saturday.

In a statement jointly signed by their spokesmen, Nyako, Geidam and Shettima said the Federal Government must summon the courage to do what is right in order not to send the wrong signal to the rest of the world by giving in to the threat of the Boko Haram insurgency.

The statement signed by Ahmad Sajoh for Nyako; Abdullahi Bego for Gaidam and Isa Gusau for Shettima, implored the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to take a cue from the Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission which courageously held the country's Presidential and Provincial election last Saturday despite strong threats from the Taliban to disrupt the elections.

They noted that through this singular exercise, Afghanistan was celebrated worldwide.

"Afghanistan and its good people were celebrated worldwide for liberating themselves from the scourge of fear and thereby sending a strong signal that no amount of threat would deny them from choosing their leaders through democratic processes," the statement said.

The governors said, "This is the kind of courage expected of genuine patriots," and Nigeria should take a lesson and not be seen as take a contrary step.

They stated further: "Our Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should please learn from the landmark election that took place in Afghanistan at the weekend during which election officials took the bold step of going on to conduct election in spite of threats by the Taliban to send the country into extinction if the elections were held.

"The Central Government in Afghanistan provided adequate security for the conduct of the poles.

It was also reported that there was a 53 percent voter turn-out during the elections and it went on peacefully in most places.

"We all know that the unfortunate insurgency affecting this country has a similar attribute to the Taliban doctrine in Afghanistan even though ours is now assuming a very complicated character.

The INEC should as a matter of counter insurgency approach, ensure that no part of Nigeria is excluded from the 2015 elections on account of threats.

Suspending elections on account of threats by insurgents and other sundry social miscreants would amount to succumbing to their doctrine and conceding victory on the part of Nigeria.

Should INEC go ahead with its initially considered exclusion of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno States from the 2015 elections, all the criminal gangs need to do, is to extend the attacks to other parts of Nigeria and have more places excluded from future elections.

This will then imply that crime and criminality will be victorious in suspending constitutional democracy in Nigeria.

We wish to state with a lot of emphasis that no human life is worth any election whether at the Presidential, Governorship, National or State Assembly, chairmanship or councillorship level.

That is our stand and it is our commitment.
It is also the inalienable right of citizens to elect their leaders in a democracy.

To that extent, it also becomes an important obligation of the Federal Government to protect all citizens while they do so.

The INEC should therefore work with the Federal Government to make adequate security preparations, if need be, a special arrangement, that will ensure smooth conduct of the election as it happened in Afghanistan which has been battling with experiences worse than the combination of Adamawa,Yobe and Borno States.

'The special arrangement is to curtail possible threats that may specifically aim at disrupting the elections.

We are however hopeful that peace will continue to grow in the States and stability will be achieved.

" The three governors also requested that the current state of emergency should not be extended further in their states.

On the issue of extension of State of Emergency, it is our considered view that there is absolutely no reason to even contemplate an extension of the State of Emergency in any of the three states.

It must be noted that a counter insurgency strategy that lasted one year without achieving the desired result requires a redefinition rather than extension.

The Federal Government should always remember that it has the obligation of protecting the lives and property of all Nigerians in all parts of the country without necessarily putting them under any special condition.

It has the option of putting a security structure in place that can continue and intensify ongoing counter insurgency operations without an extension of emergency rule.

"After all, we had the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) in place in some of States with full military activities prior to the declaration of emergency.

We have for many years, also have in place similar JTF in the Niger Delta to combat militancy and kidnapping, we have had same in the southeast to fight armed robbery, we have a Special Task Force in Plateau State combating the crisis in parts of the State without necessarily putting them under emergency rule.

Besides, the Nigerian Army has in 2013 created new divisions and brigades in Borno State as permanent military establishments.

"With continued motivation, continued and intensified deployment of military resources, the crisis will be overcome, " they said.

They however called on their people and other Nigerians to continue to intensify prayers for the return of peace and the security agencies to remain resolute and patriotic.

They also praised the courage and sacrifice of the security personnel and the civilians who died in the crisis, reinstating their commitment and determination to continue to work with security agencies and all other stakeholders in search of lasting peace.