Abuja – The Forum of Nigerian Leaders and Elders made up of PANDEF, NORTHERN ELEDERS FORUM (NEF), AFENIFERE, OHANAEZE and the MIDDLE BELT FORUM has condemned the outcome of the February 23, Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The Forum noted that the elections revealed massive irregularities and outright abuse of the electoral laws, the rules and regulations of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as well as the failure of security forces to remain neutral and operate within the highest standards of their calling.
Accordingly, the Forum said Nigerians must stand firm and ensure that they are governed by a legitimate leadership.
This is just as it also observed that the Peace Accord reached before the elections 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.
In a statement at the end of the meeting of the Forum convened by the Leader of PANDEF and 1st Republic minister, Chief Edwin Clark and co-signed by Prof Ango Abdullahi for Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Chief Ayo Adebanjo for AFENIFERE, Chief John Nwodo – OHANAEZE and DR Pogu Bitrus – for the MIDDLE BELT FORUM, stressed that the outcome of the elections were clearly premeditated in the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Electoral Act and the orchestrated suspension of Justice Walter Onoghen as the Chiefr Justice of Nigeria (CJN), shortly before the composition of Electoral Tribunals.
While reviewing 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 commended the statesmanship and commitment to the democratic process of the PDP Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to exhaust the entire democratic process by challenging the results in the courts as provided for in the constitution.
The statement states further; “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.
“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.”
It therefore called 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.
It also said; “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.”
The Forum however appealed to all Nigerians to continue to show faith in the democratic process and remain law-abiding as the nation awaits 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.
The Leaders recalled that in endorsing the candidature of Atiku for the election, they did anchor their support on identifying a candidate among many good candidates they interacted with who can retool Nigeria to move on the path of development as a true federal entity.
The Forum observed that the pattern of voting in areas where there were semi-free elections showed an overwhelming endorsements of the Forum’s position by popular votes, adding that the polls results have shown further a badly divided polity that needs a unifier and not a divisive person as a Leader