Elder statesman, Chief Mike Ahamba, has warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to moot the idea of staggered elections, no mater what happens.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said the recent attacks by gunmen in some communities especially in the North are being orchestrated to create the atmosphere of insecurity in those states as a premise to go for staggered election.
According to him, such an idea will throw Nigeria into a nationwide crisis that will affect everybody.
Chief Ahamba said the postponement of the election is no longer an issue; it is what happens today that is more important.
“I expect that after the election, there should be an investigation as to the circumstances that led the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to exercise such discretion because there is no smoke without fire. What are those things that created the circumstances and who were behind them? These are very important things we must look into after the election.
“For now, lets forget that it was postponed; lets go for the election, and I appeal to everybody to come out even in greater force to vote today,” he said.
On the implication of the election not holding today and is postponed again, the constitutional lawyer said: “Nigeria will be thrown into constitutional crisis. There will be serious disagreement, there will be serious breach of confidence and the centre cannot hold for this election anymore.
“By the electoral act that stipulates the date of the election and handover, if you don’t elect successors who do you handover to?
“Definitely, majority of Nigerians will not agree to an extension, and they may have to start going for a national government, that is, a government formed by the major parties.
“It is unfortunate if we have to come to that point because we cannot allow people to go to the polling units to cast their votes. Let the votes be counted and the results announced.
“If you are confident of yourself, you don’t have to tamper with electoral process; it’s a thing done by people who have no confidence of themselves, and that is where exactly I blame the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as of now, they are overtly jittery.”
He also spoke on what he thinks of the security challenges in some states which could lead to staggered elections. The most recent events include the Wednesday killing by herdsmen of 16 people in Agatu, Benue State; killing of 133 Fulani natives in Kaduna community according to Governor Nasir El-Rufai, bloodshed in Zamfara among other states.
Speaking on the possibility of such events leading to staggered elections, Ahamba warned: “whatever happens, we don’t want any staggered elections in this country in view of the Osun experience. I believe that some people wanted staggered election on the 16, by creating situations here and there to cause anarchy.
“We should understand that anarchy is nobody’s friend; nobody should stand by anarchy, and those who are fuelling these things should stop, as nobody knows who will be the victim in the end.
“They should realise that this is not a question of one part of the country versus another part of the country; it will be general; it will be all through Nigeria.
It is something we cannot risk at this stage. So, I appeal to people to allow peace to reign and let us vote. Why should herdsmen or anybody, whatever you call them go and kill people now if not to create the impression that there is confusion and election will not hold in certain places? Why should it be so?”
The legal luminary said even though he does not support ballot box snatching, he condemns the order by the President to shoot perpetrators on sight. He queried why the president would just concentrate on that area instead of on the flash points he already knows in order to prevent people from taking laws into their hands.
He said: “Why do you allow our security people to go and kill other Nigerians at this time; it hasn’t happened in this country before. Definitely, this country is not under the control of the present leadership and consequently, there has to be a change, otherwise we degenerate into a nationwide civil crisis, which will not help anybody. I pray against this and I hope it doesn’t happen.
“It is even a ridiculous thing for the ruling party accusing the opposition of masterminding the election postponement. This tells you how desperate these people are, they want to throw the blame on people who are not in a position to cause the blame.
“Like I said earlier, we have to find out what happened and those who were in a position to have orchestrated it. How can a government of the day be accusing the opposition of breaching security or the law? Is the opposition in control of INEC? I heard Oshiomhole saying that PDP has compromised INEC. That is an unfortunate sentiment, maybe the electoral umpire is not agreeing to their game plan,” Ahamba said