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Soyinka gives damning verdict on last elections

  Says polls one of worst in Nigeria

By Wilfred Eya

Nobel Laureate,  Prof. Wole Soyinka, has passed a damning verdict on the 2023 general elections describing it as one of the worst in the history of Nigeria.

He particularly condemned the attacks on non-indigenes in various states where violence broke out during the presidential and gubernatorial elections.

In an interview with ARISE NEWS, yesterday, Prof Soyinka described the violence that dogged the election as disgraceful and shameful.

He said the polls fell below the expectations of many Nigerians who had hoped for a more credible, free and fair process.

Soyinka observed that prior to the elections, he had proposed that the established candidates made way for infusion of a younger generation into politics so as to allow “fresh blood” and bring in new and revived thinking for the betterment of the nation.

The Nobel Laureate clarified the type of structure he would like the country to operate, saying its decentralisation would allow each of the various arms down to the grassroots level perform their duties independently.

Soyinka also accused the media of jeopardising public discourse by taking a stance in reporting political matters rather than objectively putting out news for public analysis, especially regarding the statements made by the vice presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Datti Ahmed.

Soyinka condemned him for making statements that he deemed menacing and could incite national discord.

“I never heard anyone threaten the judiciary the way I heard Datti speaking. Blackmailing attitude. Do or die provocation is not what we are struggling for,” he said.

The two main opposition parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and LP had condemned the election, citing many instances of suppression and intimidation of voters by agents of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Both are in the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to challenge the declaration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed as the president-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC).

The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) had also stated that the elections were marred by lack of transparency on the part of INEC.

The mission said INEC’s operational capacity was hampered by the fuel and Naira shortage and cited the abuse of incumbency advantage and a troubling electoral security environment as some of the factors that distorted the playing field for the candidates.

EU’s EOM Chief Observer, Barry Andrews at a press conference in Abuja stressed that on the February 25 election day, the trust in INEC was seen to further reduce due to delayed polling processes and information gaps related to much-anticipated access to results on its Results Viewing Portal (IReV).

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