The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) said voter apathy was caused by ethnic and religious politics in the recent general elections in the country.
Murtala Aliyu, the ACF Secretary General, in a statement titled, “Dealing With the Aftermath of the 2023 Elections,” said for the country to grow, Nigerians need to vote for candidates with ability to provide solutions to the problems confronting the country.
He explained that the forum stated that candidates that felt dissatisfied with the outcome of the elections should seek legal redress for amicable settlement of any issue regarding the elections.
He added that seeking redress is the right and honourable thing to do, stressing that with the size of the country’s operations, isolated incidents are impossible to prevent.
He lamented: “As we have seen in Lagos and elsewhere, ethnic and religious zealots have a way of turning political and election campaigns into life and death struggles.”
He expressed displeasure with the deployment of ethnic and religious sentiments as drivers of politics in Nigeria, noting that if left unchecked, could truncate the good intention of democracy in Nigeria.
According to him, politicians issued threats of violence and at times actually attacked supporters of rival candidates with a view to intimidate and stop them from casting their votes. He pointed out that it ought not to come as a surprise that voter apathy and absenteeism were unusually high in many areas, leading to very low voter turnout across the country.
The statement observed that in Lagos, where the problem created by ethnic and religious politics has continued to fester, acrimony and bad blood between Yoruba and Igbo have become a matter of concern to security agencies, and called on urgent steps to quickly bring the ugly trend to an end.