Nigeria Election: Buhari’s victory illegitimate, forum of leaders & elders insists ***Backs opposition on legal option
By RAZAQ BAMIDELE
London, March 2, 2019 (AltAfrica)-The Forum of Nigerian Leaders and Elders has expressed dissatisfaction about the major developments leading to the February 23rd Presidential elections, the management of the electoral process and the result of the election and declared President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory as illegitimate.
This is contained in a statement jointly signed by, Chief Ayo Adebanjo (Afenifere), Prof Ango Abdullahi, (NEF), Chief John Nnia Nwodo (Ohanaeze), Chief Edwin K, Clark (PANDEF) and Dr Pogu Bitrus (Middle Belt Forum).
The Forum also threw its weight behind the presidential candidate of the opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s insistence on challenging the outcome of the election in court, describing the decision as, “patriotic, responsible and ultimately the highest contribution to the democratic system.”
Recall that Nigerians went to poll on February 23, to elect their new president and members of the parliamentary. At the end of the exercise, the country’s electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), declared the sitting President and candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari as the winner of the presidential election to rule for another four years starting from May 29, this year.
The Forum commends the statesmanship and commitment to the democratic process of the opposition PDP candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to exhaust the entire democratic process by challenging the results in the courts as provided for in the constitution.
The Forum sees his decision as patriotic, responsible and ultimately the highest contribution to the democratic system. Some other person would by now be soaking “baboons and dogs in blood”.
The Forum observes that the elections have revealed massive irregularities and outright abuse of the electoral laws, the rules and regulations of INEC as well as the failure of security forces to remain neutral and operate within the highest standards of their calling.
The statement further reads thus: “The Peace Accord was ridiculed by deliberate and open abuse of organs of the state, the denial of rights of many citizens to vote and blatant abuse of all the commitments made by the administration. To decline to challenge obviously fictional figures, failures to respect key elements of the electoral process such as use of Smart Card Readers and preventing agents and observers’ access to all processes is to condone the massive setback which this election represents for the country.
“The outcome of the elections were clearly premeditated in the refusal of the President to sign the Electoral Act and the orchestrated suspension of Justice Walter Onoghen as the CJN shortly before the composition of Electoral Tribunals.
“The Forum calls on the judiciary to uphold the highest standards of integrity and commitment to its hallowed role by doing justice to the appeals that will come before it knowing that the eyes of the world would be on the. We are aware that attempts are being made to demoralize and intimidate the judiciary to remove a conducive context for litigations. We remind the judiciary that it is the last defence of our democratic process.
“We appeal to all Nigerians to continue to show faith in the democratic process and remain law-abiding as we await the decisions of the judiciary on a matter that will ultimately determine the quality of our democratic process and the nature of the nation we all call our own.
“We recall that in endorsing the candidature of Atiku for the election, we did anchor our support on identifying a candidate among many good candidates we interacted with who can retool Nigeria to move on the path of development as a true federal entity, the pattern of voting in areas where there were semi-free elections showed an overwhelming endorsements of our position by popular votes. And the polls results have shown further a badly divided polity that needs a unifier and not a divisive person as a Leader
“We insist Nigerians must stand firm and ensure they are governed by a legitimate leadership.”