The Convener of Unity House Foundation (UHF), a good governance and social justice advocacy group, Kingsley Wenenda Wali, has chastised the presidential candidates for the 2023 polls present at the 2022 Annual Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), for turning the venue of the event into a campaign ground, in contravention of the electoral law.
Wali, a Port Harcourt-based businessman, said it was extremely appalling and nauseating to see people who are seeking to lead the country openly campaigning in such a gathering watched by the whole world, when the electoral umpire has not blown the whistle for the commencement of electioneering campaigns, as required by the laws of the land.
Speaking in an interview, the UHF Convener, disclosed that the group was working towards embarking on a crusade for violence-free campaigns ahead of the 2023 general election.
His words: “Let me start by saying that the Unity House Foundation which I am a member of, will from the second week of September, embark on a campaign for a violence-free electioneering in both the campaigns and the election proper. We intend to engage the public and the political class on the need to be civil, the need to focus on what the issues are and the need for them to be law-abiding too. But I won’t fail at this point to mention that I’m a bit disappointed with the fact those who intend to lead Nigeria have started their campaign by breaking the laws of the land. A man who is lawless is unlikely to offer quality service to the people. If you don’t have regard for the laws of the land, I don’t know how to expect that you are going to obey the law or you are not going to circumvent the law or even suppress the law of the land when you become President, Governor or whatever. INEC has not lifted the ban on campaign based on the electoral law.
The ban on campaign will be lifted on the 28th of September. But those who are pretending to be leaders or those who want to get into power to lead Nigeria have started very badly by disobeying the laws of the land. I was very disgusted when I saw politicians openly violating the electoral law by campaigning for votes at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference. It was as disgusting, as irritating and as despicable as you can imagine, that some people who are going to be the number-one defender of the laws of the land if elected President are violating the laws of the land by openly campaigning for votes very much against the law that is governing the electoral process.”
Continuing, he added: “It is an indication of the kind of characters that want to lead the country. If you cannot obey the laws of the land, how do I believe that you can hold the laws of this country in trust for the Nigerian people. So, these are the kinds of things that scare me. If you cannot obey the laws of the land and you say you want to be a president and you started by flouting the laws and guidelines for the electoral process, why should I trust you with power? And it wasn’t something that was done in some inconsequential gathering, but such a platform where the international community were watching and you saw people recklessly campaigning for votes when the ban on campaigns has not been lifted.”