Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) have said attacks by ‘unknown gunmen’ in the South East geo-political zone, especially offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), are plots to either stop or postpone the 2023 general election, so that the incumbent will continue in power.
HURIWA explained that should the destruction of the facilities of INEC and police continues in the South East or South South, then the central government can opt for self-perpetuation in office through tenure extension, relying on section 135 (3) of the 1999 Constitution.
In a statement on Sunday, HURIWA said it was becoming clearer that the agenda might be tenure elongation as a result of eventual state of emergency that might be declared by President Muhammadu Buhari as alleged.
“We are worried by the reports of killings of many innocent young people by the soldiers and police, whereas the unknown gunmen are actually seen operating unhindered, which goes to show that the activities of these attackers may be the handiwork of enemies of the South East and persons who are working for key persons in the central government to create chaos and anarchy to guarantee the postponement of the 2023 general elections,” the group stated.
HURIWA noted that Section 135(3) of the Constitution says: “If the federation is at war in which Nigeria is physically involved and the President considers that it is not practicable to hold elections, the National Assembly may, by resolution, extend the period of four years.”
The group therefore, asked INEC and security forces to demonstrate to Nigerians that they were not part of the larger plots to extend the tenure of any public office holder. It challenged the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to partner with security forces to protect their strategic national assets in all parts of Nigeria.
“By the way, INEC conducted 2019 elections in Yobe and Borno states amid Boko Haram attacks. Why is INEC already raising the alarm that 2023 poll may be marred? INEC must not be allowed to push Nigeria into a state of civil war,” it added.