Conditions For Free And Fair Elections This Year Do Not Exist, Says Balarabe Musa
The former Governor of Kaduna State and opposition leader, Alhaji Balarabe Musa spoke on the fears of violence and attacks being nursed by Nigerians over conduct of the forthcoming February general elections.
WHAT do you thinks about the outcome of the forthcoming general elections?
Violence cannot be avoided particularly, when we put the elections in the context of the trend of the campaigns by the candidates. This is because all the candidates are desperate, and I doubt if there is even proper arrangement on the side of INEC for the elections.
For the violence arising from the campaign, this cannot be ruled out for two reasons. All the candidates are desperate and they are fighting a close political battle. They are all equally matched and desperate to ensure they get victory in the elections.
If there is violence or threat of violence, do you think this can affect the election results?
Anything is possible.
A popular governorship aspirant in Kaduna State, while launching his governorship campaign directed his teeming supporters to return violence with violence during the elections. Is this utterance not inciting?
I said both candidates in the state are desperate. And nobody is sure if there is proper arrangement for the elections. Everyone knows that they would try to rig the elections. And there is nothing on ground presently to prevent that. After all, nobody is sure that all eligible voters would be able to vote.
Up till now, and as I am talking to you, I have not gotten my permanent voters card (PVC), despite all efforts I put in. And I am sure that there are millions of people in the country who are in my shoes and in the same position. So, the fear that your supporters will not be able to vote would make others adopt other ways of making sure that they have their way.
Looking back at the conduct of the 2011 general elections in the country and the crisis that trailed the elections, would you say politicians have learnt their lessons and therefore such scenario would be avoided in this year’s elections?
The situation and conditions that encourage violence is now even more than it was before in 2011. Because like I have said earlier, eligible voters may not be able to exercise their franchise. Those who are now in a position to vote constitutionally may not be given the opportunity to vote.
Already there is a peace pact signed between President Goodluck Jonathan, Gen. Buhari and other presidential candidates to ensure that the general election is violence-free. What is your assessment of the pact?
But signing a peace accord doesn’t mean anything. The conditions for free and fair election do not exist and they know. So, signing agreement really does not mean anything. If the agreement is expected to work, they should make sure that there are conditions for the conduct of free and fair elections on ground.