The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has said that the ethnic and religious politics being played in the country was the cause of voter apathy in the just concluded national and state elections that were held recently.
The ACF Secretary General, Murtala Aliyu, in a statement titled: ‘Dealing with the aftermath of the 2023 elections’, said Nigerians must do everything within their powers to eliminate the virus and go on to inoculate themselves against re-infection in the years to come.
He noted that with the size of the country’s operations, isolated incidents are impossible to prevent, adding, “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.”
He however expressed concern over the deployment of ethnic and religious sentiments as a driver of politics in Nigeria saying, “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.”
According to him, “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 to 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 Yorubas and Igbos have become a matter of concern to the security agencies.”
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