President Muhammadu Buhari's utterances most times are like unguided missiles, which may wreck serious havoc on the entire nation, if care is not taken. I remember sometimes in 2011, he said if the elections were rigged, that baboons and dogs would be soaked in blood. Many people came out to say that Muhammadu Buhari did not mean that people would be soaked in blood and that it is just an idiomatic expression.
Just in a recent interview with a CNN anchor, he said nobody can unseat him. The question being asked him was how would he take it if the elections did not go in his favour? The president's stern response to the question was rather harsh and dictatorial, as if an incumbent president has not lost an election before in Nigeria. The truth is, any leader can be unseated through the ballot, and the president's "Nobody can unseat me" response is rather unfortunate and shows clearly that he may not easily relinquish power like his predecessor did in 2015.
While speaking yesterday at the All Progressive Congress' caucus meeting held in Abuja, the president once again issued a serious warning to those who might be contemplating snatching ballot boxes during the forthcoming elections. He said anyone caught in the act would pay dearly with his life. Now, we know that snatching ballot boxes during elections are not new in Nigeria's elections. They are occurrences in the past that have rendered elections rather inconclusive in the areas where they occurred, or the election being rigged at the end of the day. But the Electoral Act 2010 clearly stipulated what punishment are available for those who engage in such acts.
Section 129 (4) of the Electoral Act states, “Any person who snatches or destroys any election material commits an offence and is liable on conviction to 24 months imprisonment.” Section 131. (1) states, “A person who - Threatening directly or indirectly, by himself or by another person on his behalf, makes use of or threatens to make use of any force, violence or restrain; (b) inflicts or threatens to inflict by himself or by any other person, any minor or serious injury, damage, harm or loss on or against a person in order to induce or compel that person to vote or refrain from voting, or on account of such person having voted or refrained from voting; or (c) by abduction, duress, or a fraudulent device or contrivance, impedes or prevents the free use of the vote by a voter or thereby compels, induces, or prevails on a voter to give or refrain from giving his vote, (d) by preventing any political aspirants from free use of the media, designated vehicles, mobilisation of political support and campaign at an election, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N1,000, 000 or imprisonment for a term of three years.”
The president should stop behaving like he is a military dictator. Under no circumstances should anyone lose his or her life for election sake. Anyone caught snatching ballot boxes should be apprehended by the security agencies and then be allowed to face the full wrath of the law. It is rather unfortunate that the president is talking this way some few days to the postponed election, further heating up the polity. The president utterances should always be seasoned with wisdom, and not one threatening people's lives and safety for election's sake.