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Polls: Nigeria must avoid ‘Venezuelan nightmare’, says Akinyemi - PUNCH

FEBRUARY 11, 2019

BY  Oladimeji Ramon

A former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, has called for peace ahead of the general elections.

He said 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 urged politicians to guard their utterances.

He made the appeal in a statement on Sunday.

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 what that led to.

“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 to the opposition leader as the alternative president as their reaction to what they perceive 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 in our political system.”

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