A pro -democracy group, the Osun Progressive Left (OPL), has expressed worry over the call by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for outright cancelation of Osun and Ekiti states’ governorship elections.
In a statement by its Convener, Comrade Wale Adebisi, the group said it was miffed by the call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel the elections without any justification.
It described the CAN’s statement as “partisan, self-servicing, inciting and an attempt to look for unwarranted relevance”.
The statement warned CAN not to get itself “messed up” in politics but remain neutral and maintain a non-partisanship position.
It reads: “A couple of years ago, the CAN almost turned Osun into a theatre of religious crisis over the introduction of school uniform but for the mature approach with which Governor Rauf Aregbesola handled the matter. Though we are fully aware of the freedom of expression and that of speech, as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution, but a situation whereby these rights are abused to the detriment of the entire nation calls for serious concern.
“We begin to wonder how on earth an organisation like CAN, which is expected to be at the front burner of peace-making, could be making such an inflammatory statement that is capable of heating up the already tensed political situation in both states and other parts of Nigeria.
“The only body competent to examine and order the cancellation of any election in Nigeria, after the INEC has declared result, is the court of competent jurisdiction. This attempt, in all ramifications, by the CAN leadership, is to set Nigeria ablaze by canvassing for an annulment of an election result that has been announced to the public.
“It is totally irresponsible for any group to ask for the cancellation of an election without any legal basis. The last time we had an election annulment was the June 12, 1993, presidential election won by the late Moshood Kasimawo Olawale (M.K.O) Abiola. This wicked act put Nigeria permanently in the reverse for six years until civil democratic rule was returned in 1999.
“In our own opinion, we consider this statement as partisan, self-serving, inciting, ungodly and an attempt to look for unwarranted relevance. We advise the CAN not to get itself messed up in the political situation of the country, but rather remain neutral and maintain its non-partisanship position.
“In the recent past, the CAN almost turned Osun into a theatre of religious crisis, if not the mature approach of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in handling the matter. The just-concluded election results of both states have been declared and there is no way any other person or persons or INEC itself could annul these election results, as canvassed by the CAN. The only institution that has the capacity to upturn any election result declared by INEC is the court of competent jurisdiction or an election tribunal, after proper hearing and if there is a compelling reason to do so.
“However, CAN as an organisation, has for long lost its credibility, particularly with its relationship with former President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 general elections.”