The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has asserted that the outcome of the just concluded elections could be said to have reflected the broad aspirations of the electorate, in spite of the outcry of those that did not achieve their goals at the polls.
ACF also noted that there are some issues that came up before, during and after the general elections that cannot be addressed by the courts as post-election crisis.
The Forum said the exercise passed off fairly peacefully.
In a press statement on Friday, the Secretary General of the ACF, Murtala Aliyu however lamented that the deployment of ethnic and religious sentiments as a driver of politics at the recently concluded general elections cannot be addressed by the Court.
Aliyu therefore called on Nigerians irrespective of ethnic and religious differences to close ranks and play politics by the rules for peaceful coexistence among the citizenry.
“Thankfully, in spite of the outcry of mostly those that did not achieve their goals, the exercise passed off fairly peacefully and the outcomes could be said to have reflected the broad aspirations of the electorate.
True, there were difficulties and mishaps: polling stations opened late, BVAS failed to upload results real time, there were scattered violence, there were vote buying, voter intimidation, etc.
“And yet, while these problems are a serious source of concern and must be investigated and addressed, they have to be viewed in their right perspectives.
Where in the world do they organise perfect elections? The size of our operations in any event are so vast and complex that isolated incidents of this nature are impossible to prevent.
“We are pleased to note that candidates that felt dissatisfied with the outcome of the elections including presidential candidates of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, have resolved to go to court, not the streets, to seek redress.
That’s the right and honourable thing to do. Unfortunately, there is one particular problem thrown up by these elections that cannot possibly be addressed by the courts.
“It is the deployment of ethnic and religious sentiments as a driver of politics in Nigeria. As we have seen in Lagos and elsewhere, ethnic and religious zealots have a way of turning political and election campaigns into life and death struggles.
They issue threats of violence and at times actually attack supporters of rival candidates with a view to intimidating and stopping them from casting their votes.
“It ought not come as any surprise that voter apathy and absenteeism were unusually high in many areas – as well as why voter turnout was very low across the country.
In Lagos where the problem created by ethnic and religious politics has continued to fester, acrimony and bad blood between Yoruba and Igbo have become a matter of concern to the security agencies.
“In the wake of the ethnic crisis, Yoruba and Igbo partisans freely profile one another and accuse themselves of criminal conduct, including as cheats, bandits, kidnappers, land-grabbers, etc.
Ironically, ethnic profiling and accusations of criminality without evidence have always been levied against hapless Northerners especially, the so-called herders or economic migrants by the South and mostly supported by the press.
“Nigerians must do everything within their power to eliminate this virus and go on to inoculate ourselves against reinfection in the years to come.
This time, it is truly a matter of life and death. Let us as Nigerians love and care for one another. Let us focus on what unites us and not our differences,” the statement noted.