By Ayo Kehinde
Worried by attacks on non-Yoruba voters during the February 23, 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections in parts of Lagos State, “particularly at Igbo dominated polling units”, the South East Revival Group (SERG) has urged the Federal Government of Nigeria and, indeed, all security agencies “to ensure no Nigerian got molested for exercising their franchise in accordance with the laws of the land.”
In a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday and signed by its National Coordinator, Chief Willy Ezugwu, the SERG noted that it was “baffled that Nigeria can degenerate into the level of anarchy witnessed during the presidential and national legislative elections where ethnic groups were not only singled out for intimidation but thugs could burn ballot boxes and the entire votes cast in broad daylight without any immediate arrests.
“We recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the military to shoot-on-sight all ballot boxes snatchers but, unfortunately, no security agent immediately intervened while the sanctity of the ballot box was being desecrated in the open.
“We are deeply worried that verbal and physical attacks have continued to trail the elections which held penultimate Saturday. If not proactively checkmated, non-Yoruba tax payers whose taxes and levies form part of the money the would-be political officeholders are meant to appropriate would end up disenfranchised and forced never to have a say on who makes the appropriations on their behalf.
“We believe that most Yoruba people are hospitable and the activities of few selfish politicians and their irrational thugs must not be allowed to paint a different picture of the race.
“It is well known that the political elites have continued to deepen divisions within and among ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, using ethnicity and religion as their tools. This is why the federal government and all security agencies must be alive to their responsibilities and give special protection of lives and property of non-Yoruba residents in Lagos State and other South West states.
“We urge all citizens across the country, particularly in the South West to be resolute and refuse to be deterred by a few unscrupulous elements and go out enmasse to exercise their civic responsibility of electing the leaders of their choice on Saturday, March 9, 2019”, the SERG concluded.