Tuesday , June 15 2021

Nigerian candidates mix the promise of peace with the threats to the election

The president of Nigeria and his biggest rival in Saturday's election renewed his promise of peace on Wednesday before voting with charges that worried some observers while some of the supporters kept their heated rhetoric.

President Muhammad Bhakari, who is seeking a second term, and former vice president Atiku Abubakar, have promised to contribute to free and fair elections in the most populated Africa and to refrain from "religious incitement" or ethnic profiling.

The country's 190 million-year election was marked by lethal violence, although the vote in 2015 was relatively calm. The first defeat of the initial and first democratic transfer of power among the parties, which gives some Nigerians the hope that a new era has begun.

"We will vote according to the parties, but ultimately the only real party is Nigeria, our country," Bukhari told a crowd of diplomats, civil society members, observers and others.

Hours later, however, a spokesman for the last meeting of the president in the capital, Abuja, spoke with inflammatory rhetoric, warning that Nigeria has only two choices: the ruling party or "those who want to kill us."

Challenger Atiku's call to the Peace Pledge auction pointed out that former President Goodlick Jonathan says "my ambition is not worth the blood of the Nigerians."

Aware of the tense atmosphere, the chairman of the National Peace Committee called on all presidential candidates, more than 70, to "do nothing to make things worse."

Only a few days before the vote the problems multiplied.

Arrows opened fire on Wednesday on a convoy with the Governor of Borno, killing at least three people. Boko Haram, Nigerian domestic Islamic extremists, are suspected of assaulting the troubled northeast near Maiduguri.

A fire burns electoral office, with more than 4,600 smart card readers being used to vote "destroyed in hell," Nigeria's election commission said. This was the third such fire in the last two weeks.

Several people were crushed to death in a panic getaway on Tuesday at a rally in the South Rivers ruling party, widely perceived as a potential hot spot in election violence. A video produced by the Associated Press showed at least seven bodies lying in abandoned clothes and shoes.

The push for candidates to renew publicly their peaceful commitment, made for the first time in December, was adopted in recent days after the governor of the state of Kaduna said on television that anyone who came to Nigeria to intervene in the elections, will return to body bags ".

Another spitting followed a US ambassador's statement that anyone who incites to violence would be held accountable. The ruling party objected, stating that a strong political speech was allowed in the United States, but the ambassador wishes Nigerians to act "in accordance with their vision of well-behaved Africans."

The election bet is a viable country with about 190 million people, including more than 84 million voters, Africa's largest economy and oil producer. Still, the sluggish economy is still recovering from the recession and excessive dependence on crude oil exports. High unemployment, corruption and poor infrastructure continue to hinder the enormous potential of Nigeria.

After Atiku's party accused the authorities of hindering their efforts to hold a final campaign in the capital, dozens of supporters gathered at the headquarters of the campaign on Wednesday for what they called a "national day of prayer" for alleged election plans in favor of Bukhari ,

"If God can intervene, the rigging mechanism can not stand," says Bonaventura Chime, head of the prayer support group. "The point is to pray for a complete victory."

The opposition and some election observers have voiced concerns over military action in part of Southeast Nigeria where separatists are active.

Ez Onyekpere, with the Abuja-based Social Justice Center, told the Associated Press that the deployment is likely to intimidate voters in a region where Bukhari is widely unpopular.


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