Northern elders warn on ‘plans to scuttle 2023 polls
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has warned against ‘attempts to interfere with the conduct of credible elections and a peaceful transition to a new administration.’
In a statement issued Friday in Abuja by its director of publicity and advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the Forum stated that the “severe economic and social difficulties under which Nigerians live are indeed threats to peace and security” and so solution must be found to improve security of the citizens and the state
The statement read in part, “Northern Elders Forum has reviewed the difficult conditions under which Northerners and fellow Nigerians live today, as well as concerns over the security of the elections which will be conducted in February and March, this year.
“The Forum notes that there are unhealthy murmurs which hint at the possibility that the elections may not hold and some kind of unconstitutional contraption may be forced on Nigerians after May, this year. Those who peddle these dangerous rumors point to the near-desperate circumstances under which Nigerians live.
“They suggest that difficulties simultaneously imposed by insecurity, crushing inflation, fuel scarcity, exchange of old for new currency notes and others which affect particularly poor Nigerians are deliberately contrived to inflame passions and trigger unrest which may poison the election environment or threaten its conduct.”
It read further, “Solution must be found to improve security of the citizen and the state. Fuel shortage can and must be eliminated immediately. The currency swap programme has not worked as planned, and it is strangulating economies, communities and the patience of the citizens.
“It should be revisited, particularly around its timelines and operations of the CBN and banks. Whatever its benefits, it cannot be of value if it destroys many aspects of the economy, or alienates already hard-pressed citizens further. The Forum advises a postponement of its deadlines and a major review of the utility of the continued stay of the leadership of the CBN in place.”