The Leaders and Elders Forum of Nigeria has rejected the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the just concluded presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Forum, in a communique signed by Chief Edwin Clark, Leader Pan-Niger Delta Forum;
Professor Ango Abdullahi, Convener, Northern Elders’ Forum;
Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Leader, Afenifere Socio-Cultural Group
and Chief John Nwodo, President, Ohanaeze Ndigbo,
said Buhari’s victory is illegitimate and urged Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to exhaust all legal means to challenge the declaration.
The statement reads:
“The Forum of Nigerian Leaders and Elders has reviewed major developments leading to the February 23rd Presidential elections,
the management of the electoral process and the conduct and announced outcome of the elections.
“The Forum commends the statesmanship and commitment to the democratic process of the PDP candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, GCON, Wazirin Adamawa,
to exhaust the entire democratic process by challenging the results in the courts as provided for in the constitution.
“We see 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 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.
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 them.
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.