From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Obi-Datti Media Organisation has condemned the burning of Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) office in Ogun State, saying that the incident is a national sabotage capable of disrupting the 2023 general elections.
In a statement signed by its Head, Diran Onifade, the Obi-Datti Media Organisation accused opponents who have foreseen defeat in the elections of planning to disrupt it.
It noted that millions of Nigerians were waiting to collect their PVCs, and stressed that if the ugly trend was not checked millions of voters would be disenfranchised.
“The Obi-Datti Media Organisation received the very disturbing news of the burning down of the Ogun State Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office with utter shock. Similar incident had occurred in Osun State earlier.
“It has been confirmed that many materials needed for the next year’s elections were destroyed by the inferno especially permanent voters’ cards yet to be collected by their owners.
“We condemn this arson in the strongest term possible because of the serious danger and threat it poses to the conduct of free, fair and credible elections next year.
Specifically, we wish to draw the attention of Nigerians to the following: “That the burning of INEC offices and materials has no compensatory benefit to the perpetrators of the heinous crime and therefore, it is purely a sabotage against the Nigerian nation, her people and her future.
“That most of the newly registered voters who showed unprecedented enthusiasm to participate in next year’s elections by trooping out en-masse to register have not collected their PVCs and they would be the worst victims of this sabotage.
“That those waiting to collect their PVCs are in millions and that if this ugly trend is not checked, Nigeria would have millions of voters disenfranchised.
“That there is a potent danger now that if this level of disenfranchisement occurs, the result of next year’s elections will not reflect the wishes of overwhelming majority of Nigerians.
“That it is obvious that the unpatriotic criminals planning and executing disruption of 2023 elections are those who have seen clearly that they will lose in 2023 if INEC continues to conduct free and fair elections.
“That the present threats to Nigeria’s continued existence as a peaceful and economically viable nation can only be solved if a popular and credible president is elected next year.
“That the Federal Government must back its promise to conduct free and credible election in 2023 by protecting INEC staff, facilities and materials from destruction. The government must also fish out the perpetrators of the arson and bring them to justice as a punishment and a deterrent.
“That INEC for her part, must guard against rogue elements within its ranks, and its staff members who might have been compromised to carry out or abet such nefarious activities,” the statement read.