History will applaud the United States’ visa ban on some Nigerians undermining the electoral process but the European Union, United Kingdom and other developed nations need to consider following suit, a member of the House of Representatives, Teejay Yusuf (PDP, Kogi) has said.
He called on all international bodies to help ensure that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) does not “casually engineer an inconclusive election to manipulate and win” in the coming Edo and Ondo governorship elections.
The US had, on Monday, imposed visa restrictions on some Nigerians it said were undermining electoral processes in the run up to the Edo and Ondo polls.
The spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, Morgan Ortagus, said those affected were working to “undermine the Nigerian democratic process or for organising election-related violence.”
The move, he said, also targets individuals it accused of undermining the November 2019 governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa.
In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES, Mr Yusuf said while the PDP’s 16 years’ leadership produced only one inconclusive election, APC has produced 22 inconclusive elections within five years.
“We shall continue to commend the USA for wielding the big stick against those who played inglorious, despicable roles in the violent rape of democracy during Kogi state’s last governorship elections; replication of such visa ban by the EU, UK and other developed countries will tame APC leaders’ penchant for foreign trips and further reassure Nigerian democrats.
“It is historically regrettable for the nation that those who came to power professing positive change and progressive democracy have instead brought unprecedented nepotism, worsened insecurity, economic misery, high unemployment and grand schemes to thwart democracy through various means, including ‘inconclusive election’.
“All through the PDP years from May 1999 to May 2015, only one inconclusive election was recorded but sadly just between May 2015 and now, the APC leadership has given Nigeria twenty-two inconclusive elections, with clear suspicions of its inclination towards having more of such anti-democratic accomplishments,” he said.
The lawmaker urged the judiciary to rise to the historic occasion, adding that official deafness to voices of reason has inspired worsening mass resentment and a widening call for regionalism and even dismemberment of the nation.
“We pray they begin to learn to listen instead of insulting eminent voices and threatening others; Nigerians are being annihilated by economic misery, bandits and herdsmen from Mali, Niger and elsewhere wantonly murder people in farms and appointees of government routinely disparage constructive criticism as if the people have now forfeited all democratic rights.”
Mr Yusuf is one of many who have not only applauded the US’ visa restriction but called on the UK and EU to follow suit.
Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, made a similar call on Tuesday.
This, he said, is necessary to send the right and strong signal that those who undermine democracy in Nigeria are enemies of the rest of the democratic world.
He also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to “send a message to the National Assembly when the members resume later in the month that he wants them to present to him a new Electoral Bill for assent before the end of the year.”
Already, the UK has threatened to impose sanctions, including visa ban and asset seizure, on Nigerians who incite or execute violence in the Edo and Ondo governorship elections.
The Edo and Ondo polls are scheduled for September 19 and October 10 respectively.