A constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome, has condemned the statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari that he had instructed the military to shoot anybody who snatches ballot box during the forthcoming elections.
Buhari was said to have made the remark during the national caucus meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying, “snatch a ballot box at the expense of your life”.
According to Ozekhome, the president was usurping the powers of INEC and the Police in what he called “his never fading military mindset to utter this most inflammatory and unconstitutional statement”.
He said the statement is outrageously “unpresidential”, saying the Electoral Act had already taken care of such matter.
Ozekhome pointed out that Section 129(4) of the Act stipulates 24 years imprisonment for anyone who snatches ballot boxes at an election.
“Section 131 of the Electoral Act on the other hand prescribes N1 million fine or 3 years imprisonment for anyone who directly or indirectly inflicts injury on others, or causes harm, violence, or uses duress and undue influence for the purpose of winning an election”, he said.
The legal luminary added, “This statement, to say the least, is not only outrageously unpresidential, but it shows his extreme desperation and panicky mindset.
“For the records, it is the president’s own APC party that has so far been involved, to the knowledge of the whole world, in bizarre acts of electoral malpractices during their primaries, leading to an implosively divided party of disparate and inchoate tendencies”.
He said all over the world presidents are known to be extremely cautious and restrained, even when others do not.
“This is because a president is supposed to approximate the highest ideals, morals and nobility of the national psyche, ethos and consciousness”, he stated.