Post Views: 220 Just days to the February 16, 2019 Presidential election, the Federal Government, on Monday accused governments of the United States, ...
Just days to the February 16, 2019 Presidential election, the Federal Government, on Monday accused governments of the United States, the United Kingdom as well as the European Union Election Observer Mission of taking sides with and mouthing claims by the opposition that the Muhammadu Buhari administration is working to rig the polls.
In a statement, Abuja, once again restated its earlier warning that embassies, representatives of foreign governments and international organizations in the country should stop meddling in the country’s internal affairs.
Speaking against the backdrop of last week’s suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Abuja wondered: “What right has a representative of a foreign government to incense an already volatile situation on the grounds that her government has invested heavily in the elections?”
The statement by George Ehidiamen Edokpa, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, described as insulting, the claim that any foreign representative can rightly interfere in Nigeria’s internal affairs because its government has invested heavily in the elections. It recalled, afterall, that Nigeria had over the years invested enormously in election process of many African countries without interfering in their internal affairs.
It cautioned embassies and international agencies observing the elections to beware of being drawn into the camp of the opposition and not allow their neutrality become questionable.
Abuja lamented that the foreign missions were aligning with the opposition and seeking to interpret the government’s actions negatively, saying such statements by foreign governments suggest their “tolerance for corrupt acts,” while downplaying the anti-corruption crusade of the Buhari administration.
While frowning at the “serious and unacceptable interference” in the country’s internal affairs by the foreign organization, the Federal Government stressed that Justice Onnoghen had not denied charges against him, following which probity requires that he steps aside for proper investigation.
The FG said these various statements “are inimical to the wellbeing and development of Nigeria, given their nuisance value of promoting sectional and religious divide in the country, anarchy and retrogression.”
Nigerians and true friends of the country, the statement continued, should rather “be working (to help her) realize her potential and sustainably provide the leadership expected of her.”
The statement described as absurd to presume that Justice Onnoghen’s suspension is geared towards rigging the elections in favour of the ruling party, stressing President Buhari’s repeated demonstration of respect for the rule of law, being a man of integrity who has repeatedly pledged free and fair elections.
The government denied allegations of high-handedness against it, arguing that if this were true, “would the opposition have been able to express its views, even to the point of pouring invectives on Mr. President?”
The statement wondered how best corruption in the judiciary, which is now available only to the highest bidder, be best tackled if not by ensuring that known cases are fundamentally tackled.
The statement wondered how the Buhari’s action has undermined the independence of the judiciary, warning representatives of such foreign governments to desist from using utterances and actions of opposition organizations and individuals as reasons to meddle in her internal affairs.