Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs has expressed fear over the forthcoming 2019 electoral exercise saying that in all his years as an election monitor, no general election has filled him with ‘fear and trepidation’ as this year ’s general elections.
Akinyemi, however, called for peace ahead of the general elections.
He noted that in his experience of monitoring elections, he had never been filled with the kind of fear he had about the coming polls.
Akinyemi called for caution so that Nigeria does not go through the Venezuelan experience, where the international community, led by America, decided to recognise the opposition leader in the country as alternative president because of the alleged malpractices that dodged the election.
The ex-minister, in a statement on Sunday also urged politicians to guard their utterances.
Akinyemi said, “Since I have been monitoring elections in Nigeria, I cannot remember any elections that filled me with so much dread and trepidation as these forthcoming elections.
“Not even the riotous 1965 federal elections. And we all know the results.
“As a scholar in international relations, I cannot but bring to the attention of Nigerians the significance of the latest development in Venezuela where the international community, under the United States, has accorded recognition for the opposition leader as the alternative president as their reaction to what was perceived as a flawed election.
“This is promoting regime change by another route. This is the beginning, not the end of the Venezuelan nightmare. Nigeria should, by all means, avoid a repetition of the Venezuelan nightmare in Nigeria.
“Therefore, I appeal to the political leaders to call on their supporters to eschew violence and any undemocratic behaviour during these elections.
“We should avoid hate speech, not just now, but also in our political system.”