Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), the pan-Yoruba socio-political and economic organization, has declared the reason given by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for shifting the February polls is untenable.
The group issued the assessment on Monday in a public statement.
It said Nigeria's defence and security institutions have not convinced Nigerians that they have the capability to curb the Boko Haram insurgency and that it remains to be seen that they now possess new tactics and intelligence that would make the six-year menace disappear in six weeks.
“Indeed, the events of the past few weeks lend credence to a pervasive public opinion that INEC was coerced into its adopted position,” ARG added. “Nigerians were not particularly surprised at the postponement and many actually saw it coming. There is no doubt an "executive coercion" whose design and intent can only be to subjugate Nigeria's premier democratic institution, and until the security chiefs are able to advance believable reasons and demonstrate renewed commitment to their constitutional duty, Nigerians will remain suspicious of a premeditated plan to subvert democratic process.”
It warned that the public perception that the defence institutions are being used to forcefully gain partisan ambition is widening and the current federal administration, as usual, appears not to give a damn. In fact, security chiefs are helping to reinforce this perception, in the light of recent revelation on Ekiti gubernatorial election, and it can only lead to truncation of democracy.”
To worsen an already bad case, it also said, so much sacrifice is being demanded from Nigerians without commensurate sacrifice from the leadership cadre as if Nigerians signed a master-slave contract with their leaders.
“Because patriotism should beget patriotism, if Nigerians are being asked to be patriotic enough to suffer the attendant cost of poll shift in order to fight insurgency - a man-made problem - then, is it not normal for an administration that has shown unprecedented lethargy in prosecuting war against insurgency to be equally patriotic enough to admit its failure and step aside?”
ARG stressed that to continue on the path of impunity and blatant abuse of the democratic right of Nigerians as the handlers of Nigerian state are doing is the foundation for injustice.
“Yoruba people loathe such insensitivity and will always reject such leadership because you can delay the burial of a corpse, but the delay can never resurrect the corpse,” it said. “Yoruba Nation is not blind to the grave implications posed by the current pursuit of invidious personal agenda to the detriment of collective goodwill. Toying with issues that should be sacrosanct in a democratic process is a shove that will soon turn to push and the Yoruba Nation will carefully consider its options for a desired peaceful and prosperous state.”
It warned those hell bent on scuttling Nigeria’s democracy to learn from history, recalling the case of the infamous group in 2010 known as "the cabal" as evidence that Nigerians will continue to resist the dictatorial agenda of a few who seek to hold the nation hostage.