… advises aggrieved candidates to seek redress in court
…fears June 12 debacle
The Presidency, on Thursday, gave the reason why President Muhammadu Buhari has remained mum when there were allegations of irregularities and compromise against the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on the conduct of the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.
The Presidency also ruled out the possibility of taking any decision that would lead to the annulment of the presidential elections as was the case of June 12, 1992.
It advised any candidate or political party that is not satisfied with the conduct and outcome of the election to approach the court for redress.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement entitled: “At the 5th United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDCs), President Buhari drums up support for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Presidency”.
Before the elections, President Buhari had at different fora, both local and international, assured that he would ensure that the elections that would herald his exit from office would be credible, free, fair and transparent and that the outcome would reflect the wish of the people in choosing who would lead them.
The signing into the law the Electoral Act, 2022 and the use of technology for the elections were indications that President Buhari was ready to bequeath to the Nigeria, a transparent electoral process, devoid of manipulations.
However, controversies have trailed the conduct and outcome of the February 25 presidential election as the INEC has been accused to have failed to follow strictly the Electoral Act as regards the transmission of the results from the BIVAS to the iREV immediately after collation at the Pulling Units.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was the first to raise the alarm that the INEC had compromised the conduct of the election by not keeping to the electoral laws and had, in a statement, called on President Buhari to call the electoral umpire to order so that the country would not be thrown into political crisis.
There has also been plethora of negative reports from a section of international news media, casting aspersions on the conduct of the election, saying that it fell flat from the expectations of majority of the electorate.
But the presidential spokesman in what could be said to be the takeaways he listed from the President participation at the LDCs Conference, in Doha, Qatar, said that Buhari, while speaking to Nigerians in the Diaspora about the ongoing political transition, called for support for the incoming government of Asiwaju Tinubu, “so that Nigeria will continue to be the beacon of hope and prosperity in our continent and an example for other African countries to emulate.”
He further said, “In addition to other things, this trip, more than any other, speaks to the courage, political stamina and statesmanship with which the President has managed the affairs of the nation.
“In the buildup to the trip, he was faced with orchestrated attempts to poison public opinion against national institutions, particularly the presidential election and its conduct by the independent National Electoral Commission, INEC as an institution, against which vile and unsubstantiated allegations were hurled.
“The clear intent of this was creating an atmosphere of fear, polarizing the public and demonizing the administration of the President. The wishful thinkers appeared to assume that the June 12, 1993 election crisis, the worst ever since the Civil War could be recreated. Those who sought to do this forgot what the President said at the palace of the Gbong-Gwon Jos, when he went to the city to inaugurate the Tinubu-Shettima campaign: “this election will not be annulled; whoever is the winner will be president.,’’ he said.
He also said, “President Buhari not only muted himself following the cacophony, he picked up international travel: “Bola Tinubu’s election stands. If you are aggrieved, and you have the locus to do so, go to court.’’
Continuing, he said, “President Buhari used the opportunity of the visit to speak to his guests about the recent election in Nigeria and the fact that a new President would be taking over in less than three months. He hoped that the strong relations he had built between those countries will continue to endure in the new administration.
“The highlight of the conference for Nigeria was the national address on the theme of this year’s event “From Potential to Prosperity”, a speech that observers described as strikingly activist. In it, the President criticized the current structure of the global financial system which, he said, “places an unsustainable external debt burden on the most vulnerable countries.