The Yoruba Assembly has warned former President Olusegun Obasanjo against truncating the 2023 presidential election as the outcome of the June 12, 1993 presidential poll won by late Chief M.K.O Abiola was aborted without justifications.
The Assembly is a body of socio-cultural groups in Kwara, Kogi and all South-west states.
Also, another group, Conscience of the Yoruba Nation similarly faulted Obasanjo’s call for the cancellation of the 2023 presidential election, observing that his statement “is nothing, but a call for undue interference in the constitutional responsibilities of the INEC.”
The National Chairman of Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), Hon. Olawale Oshun and the Director-General of the Conscience of the Yoruba Nation (COYN), Abagun Kole Omololu expressed these concerns at separate fora in Lagos on Tuesday.
Obasanjo had claimed that INEC officials, at operational level, had been compromised to make what should have worked not to work and to revert to manual transmission of results, which was manipulated, and the results doctored.
The former president suggested that all elections that did not pass the credibility and transparency test be cancelled and be brought back with areas where elections were disrupted for next Saturday and BVAS and Server officials be changed.
Oshun at a news conference said Obasanjo lacked the moral right to serve as a guiding beacon for Nigeria whether in his intervention in the 1993 presidential election that yielded MKO Abiola or in this particular instance of the yet to be concluded 2023 elections.
He said Obasanjo’s hand was heavy in the institution of the failed 1993 Interim government, a process that ultimately led to the military intervention that brought the late tyrant, Gen. Sani Abacha to power and the death of the President-elect, Chief M.K.O Abiola.
Oshun pointed out that the former president “is as politically partisan as any other Nigerian, which is his right, but cannot at the same time be pretending to be father of the nation.
“We will be justified to impute motive and suggest that this 2023 attempt at wanting to render the elections inchoate as that of 1993 could just be that Obasanjo would want till his passing to remain the only Yoruba people to ever attain leadership of the country.”
Oshun called for the completion of the 2023 electoral processes starting with the already held national elections and ending with the state executive and legislative elections.
He stated the electoral process must be completed and that any party or candidate can, as provided for in the electoral laws, seek justice in our courts. Whoever emerges however has great unifying tasks ahead if Nigeria is to remain one.
Oshun warned the military “to completely steer clear of whatever temporary impasse could occur, as this is not unusual in all democracies. The military should also turn a deaf ear to any possible incitement be it from retired Generals or their rank and file.
“The world has moved on and the Yoruba people will resist with other Nigerians any misguided intervention to take place in our polity.”
Also, COYN DG Omololu said that INEC should be allowed, even encouraged, to continue with the ongoing electoral process, which according to him, all Nigerians – at home and in the diaspora – were anxiously waiting for.
He, therefore, said the people of Yoruba “stand by INEC to conclude the process in line with its mandate. As a people, we challenge the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to declare any candidate that satisfies the requirements of the 1999 Constitution winner of the process to avoid another June 12 dilemma or any political contradiction that can truncate our democracy.”
“Even though the process is not entirely credible, Omololu observed that the solution “is not to throw away the baby with bath’s water.”
He said rather than resorting to extra-legal measures that could lead to the regrettable path of people’s aborted mandate as witnessed after the June 12, 1993 election, any aggrieved candidate should seek redress in the Election Petition Tribunal in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and 2022 Electoral Act.