2023 Polls: Democracy Under Threat, The Electoral Forum Cautions

The Electoral Forum (TEF) has warned that the West African sub-region is currently going through perilous storms as a result of the actions of some politicians in some parts of the continent.

The forum, following the reported violence at political campaign rallies and attacks on facilities belonging to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) took this decision as the nation prepares for the 2023 general elections.

Chairman of the forum, Adebayo Olukoshi, at the launch of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) Node (Nigeria) in Abuja during the weekend warned politicians against undermining the unity of the country.

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The WACSI Node, a concept of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), seeks to strength the Nigerian civic space and connect civil society organisations and actors (not only NGOs) to the various service offerings it provides.

Olukoshi, who is a professor at the Wits School of Governance, University of the Witswatersrand in South Africa, urged political actors, not to take actions or make decisions that would make Nigeria a problem in West Africa, rather than a beacon of hope for the sub region.

Speaking also, executive director, WACSI, Nana Afadzinu, said the 2023 elections in Nigeria would pose a key test of the strength of the country’s democracy.

Afadzinu said  Nigeria’s position in Africa’s geo-politics cannot be underestimated, adding that a strong civil society in Nigeria portends a good omen not only for the country, but for West Africa and indeed the continent.

She said: “This is a critical time in our democratic journey and the role of civil society is even more heightened and questioned in the response to the post-covid challenges, global economic crisis, and growing discontent among our people as many express their angst with the lack of dividends from our democratic project.

“In the past two years, this situation has created fertile ground for the return of military coups in some parts of West Africa. One has to mention what has also been termed constitutional coups- the manipulation of constitutions by incumbent governments to prolong their terms of office.