Election Must Hold As Planned, ‘No To Interim National Govt’ – Gen Olanrewaju
Former Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and General Officer Commanding (GOC) Third Armoured Division Nigerian Army, Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju (Rtd), has declared his support for the February 25, 2023 general elections as already planned by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In a statement sent to IfakoIjaiyeNews, he said in spite of whatever effort by anti-democratic forces within or without, the elections must hold as scheduled.
According to him, “Postponing the February election will lead to a low turnout of voters, and genuine winners will not emerge. Surely, the enthusiasm to come out to vote will drop.”
On insinuation of Interim National Government, General Olanrewaju posited that there must be no room for it, adding that his experience, in the consolidation of Interim National Government led by Chief Ernest Shonekan in 1993, puts him in better stead to speak against it at this time.
The former Corps Commander Artillery Nigerian Army, who commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to a successful transition of power as scheduled to kick off in three weeks time, said the best legacy the Daura-born President will be remembered for leaving behind for coming generation of Nigerian leadership is actualised civillian-to-civillian transition of power, democratically.
The prominent Lagos State-born General reviewed the situation of impunity in public and private places, which has resulted in the agonising new Naira notes and fuel scarcity across the country, and assured Nigerians that those challenges are not enough excuses to disrupt the transition election process embarked upon by government.
He, therefore, threw his weight behind President Buhari on doing whatever reasonably possible to clear the problems, adding that any banker or petroleum marker, who has respectively hoarded cash or products to sabotage the process and thereby igniting public unrest should be appropriately handled because nobody is more powerful than state.
“Mr. President has the capacity to handle the situation and he has my support for doing exactly that because, nobody stands in the way government has taken for the good of the people, except that such person is incurring the wrath of the law requiring that government takes action against him and the nation moves on,” the General said.
“…in another climes, these bankers who inflict pains on citizens would have been in the gulag. They are simply wicked. Yes, the new notes are limited in supply to the public but can be shared pro rata on the counters by the banks for the low income customers to meet minimum demands.
“This is a good monetary policy, but ‘shylockly’ handled for personal gains along the distribution chain to the consumers. Nigerians like inflicting pains and injuries on fellow citizens. This is not a matter of leadership at the top, but it cuts across down to the grassroots.
“We (Nigerian citizens) need to assist the government in succeeding at this time. If you don’t have fuel and low value currency, it’s the poor people who will suffer in the supply and demand chain,” Retired Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju said.
He added that, “Banks are sufficiently stocked with enough new notes that there’s no reason for Nigerians to be going through the current suffering. This is just terrible. This is not a matter of leadership at the top,” he said.
Speaking on the governorship election of Lagos State, General Olanrewaju said, “Lagosians must shine their eyes this time around. The 2023 elections will determine our identity, rights, and future. Every genuine IBILE (IBILE (Ikorodu, Badagry, Ikeja, LAGOS and Epe) citizen must be ready to challenge the present status-quo and liberate themselves from one man dictatorship.
“The Lagos State revenues have to be redefined. The upland communities have suffered from development as our collective heritage and resources have been sold out for the benefit of a few powerful elements in the state. As ÌBILE citizens, let’s vote wisely for the benefit of all of us. IBILE had never been so downgraded the way it is today,” General Olanrewaju, who is also Trustee of Omo Eko Pataki, said.
In the meantime, Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju has called for immediate removal of the INEC representative in Lagos over his alleged statement that he has no option than to engage the Lagos State Park Management Committee headed by Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya a.k.a. MC Olu-Omo, a Lagos State APC chieftain, to distribute election materials in an exercise being contested by many political parties.
Nigeria’s Presidential Election Marred With Irregularities – U.S. Reps Member
Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, says she is “deeply concerned over the delays and serious allegations of irregularities, including fraud, by multiple independent observers in the recent Nigerian presidential election”.
In a statement released by Rep Ilhan, she demanded “swift action from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), along with a full accounting of allegations of voter suppression, delayed poll openings, the failure of the new electronic voting system, and a sharp decline in turnout.”
The statement read: “I am deeply concerned over the delays and serious allegations of irregularities, including fraud, by multiple independent observers in the recent Nigerian presidential election.
“I urge full transparency and swift action from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), along with a full accounting of allegations of voter suppression, delayed poll openings, the failure of the new electronic voting system, and a sharp decline in turnout.
“Democracy rests on free, fair, and transparent elections. When elections are not fair, open, and transparent, it’s disenfranchising and shatters faith in government. Nigeria’s low turnout already suggests a lack of faith in the country’s democratic institutions. It is critical that the process plays out correctly.
“Allowing electoral challenges to go through the system is a key part of a functioning democratic process. It is also a way to help build confidence and avoid protracted conflict.
“The international community should support an independent and transparent process and wait until these challenges are resolved before prematurely pronouncing a winner.”
INEC announced Bola Tinubu winner of the presidential election amidst calls for the cancellation of the poll by the PDP and Labour Party.
Government Orders Universities To Shut Down For 2023 Elections
The Federal Government, through the National Universities Commission (NUC), has directed all Universities and Inter-University Centres to shut down and academic activities suspended from February 22 to March 14.
The directive was contained in a circular dated February 3, 2023 and addressed to all Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities and Directors/Chief Executives of Inter-University Centres.
In the circular seen by IfakoIjaiyeNews, NUC said Vice-Chancellors, as well as Directors/Chief Executives of inter-university centres, are by this Circular requested to shut down their respective Institutions from Wednesday 22 February 2023 to Tuesday 14 March 2023.”
The circular reads in parts: “As Vice-Chancellors of all Universities and Directors Chief Executives of Inter University Centres are quite aware, the 2023 General Elections have been scheduled to hold on Saturday 25 February 2023, for the Presidential and National Assembly, and Saturday 11 March 2023 for Gubernatorial and State Assembly, respectively.
“In view of the foregoing and concerns expressed on the security of staff, students and properties of the our respective institutions, the Honourable Minister of Education, Mal. Adamu Adamu has following extensive consultations with the relevant security agencies, directed that all Universities and Inter University Centres be shut down and academic activities be suspended between 22 February and 14th March, 2023.
“Consequently, Vice-Chancellors, as well as Directors/Chief Executives of inter-university centres, are by this Circular requested to shut down their respective Institutions from Wednesday 22 February 2023 to Tuesday 14 March 2023.”
JUST IN: Supreme Court Stops FG, CBN From Banning Old Naira Notes
The Supreme Court on Wednesday temporarily halted the move by the federal government to ban the use of the old naira notes from February 10, 2023.
A seven-member panel led by Justice John Okoro, halted the move of the federal government in a ruling in an exparte application brought by three northern states of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara.
The three states had specifically applied for an order of Interim Injunction restraining “the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) or the commercial banks from suspending or determining or ending on February 10, 2023, the time frame with which the now older version of the 200, 500 and 1,000 denomination of the naira may no longer be legal tender pending the hearing and determination of their motion on notice for interlocutory injunction”.
Moving the application on Wednesday, counsel to the applicants, Mr A. I. Mustapha, SAN, had urged the apex court to grant the application in the interest of justice and the well-being of Nigeria.
He stated that the policy of the government had led to an “excruciating situation that is almost leading to anarchy in the land “.
While he referred to a Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) statistics which put the number of people who don’t have bank accounts at over 60 percent, Mustapha lamented that the few Nigerians with bank accounts can’t even access their monies from the bank as a result of the policy.
The senior lawyer further argued that unless the Supreme Court intervenes the situation will lead to anarchy because most banks are already closing operations.
Delivering a ruling in the motion, Justice Okoro, held that after careful consideration of the motion exparte this application is granted as prayed, “An order of Interim Injunction restraining the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) or the commercial banks from suspending or determining or ending on February 10, 2023, the time frame with which the now older version of the 200, 500 and 1,000 denomination of the naira may no longer be legal tender pending the hearing and determination of their motion on notice for an interlocutory injunction”.
He accordingly adjourned to February 15, 2023, for hearing of the main suit.
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