2023 Election: Nigeria In The Eye Of International Community

By Suleiman Umaru

 Barely two weeks to the 2023, Presidential and National Assembly Elections, Nigeria appears to be in the eye of the International Community, particular, the European Union, EU, and the North American country of the United States US.

Given that the Nigeria 203, general elections, are on the eye of the International Community, may have informed why President Muhammadu Buhari, has tasked Usman Alkali Baba, led Nigerian Police Force, NPF, and Heads of other security agencies, to mobilise their men, to ensure that adequate security will be provided to guarantee a free, fair and credible elections.

Baba: IGP

On Monday, February, 13, 2023, the Katsina state born Nigerian President  had commissioned   the   , NPF, new operational Assets , vehicles , crowd control and anti-riot equipment , at the Force Headquarters , in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory’’, FCT. The President was said to have also assured the IGP, that other Operational Assets such as tear gas, tasers,stun guns, pepper sprays, catchment of arms, ammunition, bulletproof vests, helmets and other  personal protective equipment would be commissioned soon.   

 Recall that prior to the Commissioning of the newly procured operational Assets, Baba, the IGP, had briefed the Nigerian President on ‘’the operation order and action plan for the polls and expressed confidence in the level of preparedness of the police for the exercise. The IGP, was said to have assured the President that the Force, with the support of other security agencies will provide adequate security that would foster a free, fair and credible elections’’.

    The interest of the EU and the US, government, hae become   sopronounced that they have put a close tab on the Independent National Electoral Comission, INEC, under the close watch of Professor Mahmood Yakubu to ensure that the Commission does not favour any Candidate during the elections.

 There are 18 Candidates that jostling to take over from President Muhammadu, of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, after the February 25, 2023, Presidential election, as the next Nigerian President.

Out of the 18 Political Parties Presidential Candidates, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state, Atiiku Abubakar, a former Nigerian Vice President, during Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration and Presidential Candidate of the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambara state and Flag beare of the Labour party, LP, appear to be the front liners.

Only recently, Mrs. Molly Phee, the US, Assistant Secretary   of State for Bureau of African Affairs and Beth Leonard, the country’s Ambassador to Nigeria, at the instance of President Joe Biden, had met with Prof.  Yabubu,   hours, after the INEC Chairman had met with the Leaders of all the political parties, whose party Candidates are jostling to take over from the Katsina state born Nigerian President.

 The two top US, officials, may have spoken the mind of President Biden when they noted that the ‘’the upcoming general elections in Nigeria, the most populous country in the African continent ‘’matter to the US’’. The duo had said that the US government is interested in consolidating democracy in Nigeria and doing so peacefully’’.

Giving the rumour making the rounds the US government would want Tinubu or Atiku, Candidate of the APC or PDP, to win the February 25, 23, Presidential election, to continue to have access to plunder the country’s natural resources.But Mrs. Phee, the US Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of African Affairs, had said that the Biden government does not have a ‘’preferred Candidate  but it supports the country electoral proces’’.

Aware that INEC, cannot afford to fail in the conduct of the 2023, general elections, which the Nigerian President had repeatedly assured the International Community would be ‘’free , fair and credible,  Prof Yakubu, the  electoral umpire boss  had told the US delegation who were in office  that ‘’the Commission  is on the right path  to conducting  the elections  as scheduled’’, noting that ‘’12 out of 14  pre-election  activities  in the schedule have been implemented’’.

Prof. Yakubu : INEC Chairman,

Asa prelude to ensuring a free, fair and transparent elections, the INEC, Chairman, was said to have to have told the Political Party Leaders at a recent meeting in FCT, that the number of polling units in the country is now 176,606. He may have shocked them when he disclosed that there some polling units which have no registered voters. The INEC, Chairman, may have kept to his words to organize one of the freest elections in Nigeria, where there would be no vote buying or rigging of any sort as he has published the 240 polling units across states28 of the Federation and the FCT, with no registered voters.

Going by the INEC report, more of such fake pooling units are more in the south east states of Abia, Imo, north east states of Borno , Taraba and he north western state of Kano. This may have informed why the Commission had said that  voters who  would be assigned  to new polling  units will receive text messages  letting them know their new polling  units  before the February  25, 2023, Presidential and National Assembly  and March11, 2023, Governorship and House of Assembly elections  . He had made Nigerians to understand that no new registered voters were transferred to those fake polling units. This is bad news for the politicians who have been using those polling units with no registered voters over the years to win elections that he game is up. Last January, the Commission had presented a register to the public containing 93,469,008 voters for the 2023, general elections.

Emefiele: CBN Governor

In a related development,  Buhari, was said to have held a closed door meeting  with Godwin Emefiele, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, governor,  at the Villa,  to discuss  the current  currency swap situation in the country  ahead of the 2023, general elections.  He was said to have left the Presidential Villa, without   speaking with the State House Correspondents , who had laid ambush for him   about the details of the meeting, meaning that the President may have given him a piece of his mind.

Since the redesign of the old currency Notes of N200, N500 and N1,000 Notes, with the deadline  for swapping the old Notes , the development  has been greeted  with condemnation from several quarters. Even some governors of the ruling APC, had dragged the Federal government to the Supreme Court to challenge the policy, with more governors joining in the suit against the government over the naira policy deadline.

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