Prof. Wole Soyinka, a Nobel Laureate, gave a critical assessment of the general elections in 2023, calling them among the worst in Nigerian history.
The attacks on non-indigenous people in the many states where there was unrest during the presidential and gubernatorial elections were strongly criticized by him.
Prof. Soyinka referred to the violence that marred the election as terrible and shameful in an interview with ARISE NEWS yesterday.
He claimed that many Nigerians who had hoped for a more credible, free, and fair process had been disappointed by the results of the elections.
In order to allow for “fresh blood” and to bring in new and revitalized thinking for the good of the country, Soyinka noted that he had suggested that the established contenders step aside before the elections.
The Nobel laureate elaborated on the organizational structure he prefers for the nation, stating that its decentralization would enable each of the numerous arms, all the way down to the local level, to carry out their responsibilities autonomously.
In addition, Soyinka charged that the media was undermining public discourse by taking a stand on political issues rather than presenting information objectively for debate, particularly in light of the comments made by Labour Party vice presidential candidate Datti Ahmed.
Soyinka denounced him for making remarks that he believed were dangerous and would cause national unrest.
“I have never heard anyone threaten the judicial system in the manner Datti did. Blackmailing behavior. We are not fighting for do-or-die provocation, he said.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Liberation Party (LP), the two main opposition parties, had denounced the election, citing numerous instances of voting suppression and intimidation by APC operatives (APC).
Both are contesting the Independent National Electoral Commission’s declaration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed as the winner of the presidential election in the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (INEC).
The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) had additionally claimed that INEC’s lack of openness had tainted the polls.
The mission said that the gasoline and Naira shortages were impeding INEC’s ability to function, and it listed the exploitation of the incumbent candidate advantage as well as an unsettling election security environment as some of the elements that created unfair competition for the candidates.
At a press conference in Abuja, the EU’s EOM Chief Observer, Barry Andrews, emphasized that on the day of the election on February 25, the confidence in INEC was seen to further decline as a result of sluggish polling processes and information gaps related to much-anticipated access to results on its Results Viewing Portal (IReV).
Storming the EU office in Abuja, protesters reject the election report
A group of Nigerians working under the banner of the Coalition of Civil Society Organization and Political Parties for Good Governance (CCSOPPGG) stormed the European Union office in Abuja to demonstrate against its report on the February 25, 2023 presidential election, which caused them concern.
The demonstrators marched from the Central Area to the European Union’s offices in the Federal Capital Territory while carrying many placards with various slogans.
The EU had earlier condemned the general elections in 2023 in a report, citing violence, murder, and vote-buying as some of the reasons for its condemnation.
At the EU headquarters, where the peaceful march came to an end, the group’s leaders spoke to EU officials.
The group left when an EU representative assured them that they would inform the Union of the protesters’ message.
Additionally, the Federal Government rejected the EU’s assessment on the 2023 general elections on Sunday, calling the mission’s findings “jaundiced” in the process.
Dele Alake, the Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Special Duties, Communications, and Strategy, issued a statement saying, “We urge the EU and other foreign interests to be objective in all their assessments of the internal affairs of our country and allow Nigeria to breathe.”
PDP in Benue suspends Anti-Party Activities by Ayu
The National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, has been placed on administrative leave by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Executive Committee in the Igyorov ward of the Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State.
Ayu was suspended by the ward Exco for anti-party activity after a vote of no confidence was taken against him.
Ayu’s anti-party activities and those of his allies, who also chose not to cast ballots in the governorship race, Banger Dooyum, secretary of the Igyorov ward part, claimed when reading the resolution of the ward Exco.
Additionally, he is charged with failing to pay his yearly dues in accordance with the party’s constitution.
Kano’s new governor promises to reinstate free healthcare and education
Abba Yusuf, the incoming governor of Kano, has vowed to bring back the Kwankwasiyya free healthcare and education programs after taking office.
The Governor-elect stressed the urgent need to address the core duties of government, such as the provision of drinkable water, fundamental education, and high-quality healthcare, in a statement issued by his spokesperson, Sanusi Dawakin-Tofa.
“Households in Kano still struggle to access safe drinking water in the twenty-first century, despite the outgoing administration’s claims that significant sums of taxpayer money had been committed to providing basic water,” said Dawakin-Tofa.
“The incoming government is committed to resolving this and will uphold the Kwankwasiyya philosophy with a wider scope of free education at primary and secondary levels, including the provision of school uniforms, educational materials, meals, conducive environments, paying SSCE fees for students, training, and motivation for teachers to provide high-quality education,” the statement reads.
The newly elected governor has pledged to renovate community health facilities in all 44 Local Government Areas of Kano State and prioritize free programs for maternity and child healthcare. He also intends to bring back the Kwankwasiyya scholarship program for tertiary education and doctoral degrees in specialized fields including engineering, science, and medicine abroad.
Dawakin-Tofa continued, “We will finish off unfinished projects and keep up the commendable populist policies of Kwankwassiyya regimes, like youth empowerment and creating favorable conditions for MSMEs and entrepreneurship to thrive.
The people of Kano State, who are eagerly anticipating the beneficial changes his government will bring, have reacted with enthusiasm and hope to Abba Kabir Yusuf’s vow to revive the Kwankwasiyya free education and healthcare systems.
Kalu congratulates Otti, the incoming governor of Abia
Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, a former governor of Abia State and the Senate’s chief whip, congratulated Chief Alex Otti of the Labour Party (LP) on his victory in the governor’s race in Abia State.
Kalu asked the political elite to refrain from undemocratic acts for the good of the state while urging Abians at home and abroad to work with the governor-elect to restore the state for the benefit of the people. In a message of goodwill, Kalu praised the political maturity displayed by candidates from all political parties and added that the interests of Abian society as a whole should take precedence above individual goals.
“I congratulate Chief Alex Otti of the Labour Party (LP), who won the Abia state governorship election last Saturday,” he said. As the Abians, regardless of their party affiliation, have spoken through their votes, they must organize support for the incoming governor. I am confident that Otti will use his administrative nous to steer the affairs of Abia State based on his prior experiences in the private sector. I kindly ask Abians to maintain their resolve, be upbeat, and practice peace throughout this time. Kalu wished Otti well during his time in power.
Mbah, Ossai, and the deputy governor of Enugu visit Ugwuanyi.
Peter Mbah, the incoming governor of Enugu, and Ifeanyi Ossai, his deputy, paid a visit to the government building yesterday to express their gratitude to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the PDP chairman.
Mbah paid a “thank-you visit” to jubilant Enugu natives and PDP supporters who occupied Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters in Enugu yesterday in what could be considered the first public outing following his declaration. They were demanding the announcement of the March 18 governorship election results compiled from the state’s 17 local government areas by the INEC state returning officer, Maduebibisi Iwe.
Mbah defeated Chijioke Edeoga of the Labour Party (LP), who received 157,552 votes, and was proclaimed the winner by the INEC state returning officer after meeting all legal conditions.
Speaker of the House of Assemblies, Edward Ubosi; PDP Chairman, Augustine Nnamani; Gil Nnaji; representatives of the Enugu East/Isi-Uzo and Enugu North/South federal constituencies, Cornelius Nnaji and Ofor Chukwuegbo, respectively; Secretary to the State Government, Simon Uchenna Ortuanya; Deputy Chief of Staff, Government House, Enugu, Malachy Okwu