The Forum of Nigerian Leaders and Elders has rejected the poll that reelected President Muhammadu Buhari for another four years on February 23, 2019.
The Forum, made up of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Middle Belt Forum, made its position known in a statement signed by their leaders, including Chief E. K. Clark, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief John Nwodo and Dr. Pogu Bitrus.
The statement said: “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 said it observed that the election was fraught with massive irregularities and outright abuse of the electoral laws, the rules and regulations of the Independent National Electoral Commission as well as the failure of security forces to remain neutral and operate within the highest standards of their calling.
It said: “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 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.
“We insist Nigerians must stand firm and ensure that they are governed by a legitimate leadership.”