Former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai has told Nigerians to expect riots and other forms of violence that may lead to loss of lives and properties, after the 2015 general election, except the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies ensure free and fair elections.
Speaking at the Transformed to Transform (The T2T Nigeria) Conference and Career Fair, a leadership and empowerment initiative for National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members held at the Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, El-Rufai accused INEC of incompetence, arguing that if it was not able to organise credible elections in Anambra and Delta States, it would be almost impossible to expect free and fair elections from the umpire in 2015.
He expressed lack of confidence in the Attahiru Jega-led electoral commission and security agencies to organise impartial elections in 2015, predicting a disastrous outcome if those involved did not get their acts together early enough.
“The next election is likely to be violent and many people are likely going to die (in the process). And the only alternative left to get power is to take it by force; this is the reality on ground.
“Clearly, we have seen a few by-elections in Delta and in Anambra… The level of preparedness of the electoral body was awful; bribery and the use of police and military was rampant. That was even just a by-elections in one or two states, so by the time we have a general election all over the country, its going to over stretch the capacity of the electoral commission and the security agencies.
“I have no confidence in the level of preparedness of the INEC, security agencies and others to conduct elections based on the experience of the other elections they have conducted so far, but they have the time to clear their act. It’s left to them.”
Speaking further to newsmen after the event, El-rufai said the only option left to wrestle power from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was to force their hands through votes.
According to him, “The ruling party is unwilling to hand over power even where it is clearly unpopular.
“This is what caused problems in the 2011 elections that we had post-elections violence. I see the same thing happening in 2015 unless elections are free and fair, unless INEC cleans up its act and organises free and fair elections, there will be violence.
“If people lose confidence in them, there will be violence, there will be riots and other related issues. But this can be prevented if those who are tasked with the job of security and impartial umpires discharge their responsibilities. However, based on what I see on ground, I don’t see that happening but we all pray that before then they will get it right.”
Continuing, el-Rufai pointed out that no one gives up power willingly, adding: “It’s either you force yourself and force them out with your votes or you just wait and let them rig the elections.”
Speaking on youths, el-Rufai said there had been a lot of disconnect in the upbringing of the young people in the country, which had created the upheaval currently witnessed across the nation.
He warned that unless the country’s leaders engaged them with something positive, there would be serious problems in this country and it would not help anyone, adding that the country’s centenary celebration a good opportunity to reflect on the future of Nigeria.
“We have not succeed as a country, we have not realised our potentials in the last 50 years and its time we consider how we will move forward as a nation. I think we should use this time of our centenary to address the existing deficiencies,” he said.
“Young people account for about 70 per cent of our demographics and not only is it good for the country but they are the hope of the future, and unless we combine the energy of the young people with the wisdom of the old people, we don’t have a country,” he said.