Edo 2020: Buhari succumbs to US, UK election rigging sanction threats, calls for free, fair election

September 18, 2020
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There are indicators that the threat of visa ban, property confiscation and other sanctions against election riggers in Nigeria may have generated pressures on President Muhammadu Buhari to call on political parties, candidates, and security agents participating in the Edo governorship election to uphold democratic standards.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement on Thursday indicated that the President admonished that failure to abide by the rules would truncate efforts to achieve free and fair elections.

The US government had issued statement on visa barring on election riggers in Nigeria, particularly, during the governorship isolated election in Kogi and Bayelsa states. The UK followed same democratic disciplinary track against riggers of elections in Nigeria. The sanctions provided compass of rethink in the Edo and Ondo State governorship election.

President Buhari appears to align with the UK and US threats of sanctions despite noticeable flaws and perceived subversion of the electoral process in the 2019 general elections. The president, accordingly, declared: “I am passionately committed to free and fair elections, but my own commitment is not enough if other actors at ground zero refuse to abide by the rules.

“I want to see democratic standards in the country raised higher at every level, but these cannot be achieved when politicians resort to do or die methods to gain power by any means or machination.”

President Buhari noted that the do-or-die mentality to politics is a threat to free and fair elections because the actors are more focused on winning than caring about a fair outcome that reflects the will of the people.

The President further called on security agents and electoral officials to remain neutral.

“That way, they would be able to “ensure free and fair elections and avoid any action(s) capable of compromising the integrity of the elections,” Buhari noted.

He declared: “Conducting free and fair elections is one of my main concerns for our democracy, and I want this commitment to be one of the legacies I will leave behind when I depart office.”

The Saturday governorship election in Edo State is contested by 14 candidates and political parties.

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