Some elder statesmen under the auspices of the Forum of Nigerian Leaders and Elders, says the just concluded presidential election revealed “massive irregularities and outright abuse of electoral laws”.
The group also threw its weight behind the decision of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to contest the result in court.
This was contained in a statement signed on behalf of the forum on Saturday by Chief Ayo Adebanjo (Afenifere); Professor Ango Abdulahi (Northern Elders Forum); Chief John Nnia Nwodo (Ohanaeze Ndigbo); Dr Pogu Bitrus (Middle Belt Forum), and Chief E.K. Clark (PANDEF).
The statement read: “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 the 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 Onnoghen as the CJN shortly before the composition of Electoral Tribunals.”
The elders also urged members of the judiciary to perform their duties appropriately, just as they called on Nigerians not to lose faith in the democratic process.
“We are aware that attempts are being made to demoralise 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 poll’s 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 are governed by a legitimate leadership.”