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Apologise to Nigeria for interfering in our elections - Group tells UK, US, others

Apologise to Nigeria for interfering in our elections - Group tells UK, US, others

- An organisation has demanded an apology from various countries over an alleged interference in Nigerian elections

- Centre for Social Justice Equity and Transparency (CESJET) said some foreign countries are interfering in Nigeria's 2019 election

- The group said the allegedly call for President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek election buy some countries is against the Nigerian constitution

A civil society organisation has called an apology from various countries over an alleged interference in Nigerian elections.

The Centre for Social Justice Equity and Transparency (CESJET) on Friday, August 17, demanded a written apology from the UK, United States, Saudi Arabia and other foreign bodies for what it described as an interference in Nigeria's 2019 election.

The organisation also wants the apology to include an undertaken not to resume interference in Nigeria’s elections directly or indirectly using local or international groups or proxies.

The executive secretary for CESJET, Isaac Ikpa, during a press briefing in Abuja it has become fashionable for foreign countries to become part of election arrangement in Nigeria.

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Ikpa condemned reports that some countries have warned President Muhammadu Buhari against seeking re-election into the office of the presidency in Nigeria.

Citing a report on Daily Independent Newspaper on Tuesday August 14, Ikpa said the report listed the European Union, the United States, the UK, and Saudi Arabia as the countries that are mounting this supposed pressure on President Buhari not to take part in an election.

He said such move by these countries contradicts the Nigerian Constitution which expressly qualifies the president to contest or re-contest for an election.

Ikpa said: "We would have however wished to see a harsher response than what we have seen from the Nigerian side so far because the story in question hold for us more sinister dimensions that required that Nigeria as a sovereign country respond to with anger on a scale that has not been seen from the country before."

"This is because we see that story as patently planted by the named countries in pursuit of their hatred for anything good happening in Nigeria. They planted the story as a way of gauging the response to such scenario and a tepid response would encourage them to scale up their meddling in Nigeria’s internal affairs.

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It has been more than 48 hours since the story was planted and published. Not one of the European Union, the United States, the UK, or Saudi Arabia have come out to refute that their diplomats were engaged in the ugly meddling reported in the news story.

The silence for us at CESJET equals acquiescence, one that confirms that they had contemplated or had actively plied pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election," Ikpa said.

He added that: "Whoever mounted pressure on President Buhari on behalf of the Kingdom should be place under aggressive watch by the National Intelligence Agencies because for such dictatorship to attempt influencing the outcome of election in Nigeria is a clear sign of threat to our democracy.

"CESJET has nothing against non-belligerent nations observe democratic activities of a country of interest within acceptable international terms.

"Converting this otherwise good practice into a backdoor for interfering with and manipulating elections in Nigeria is unacceptable and would be rightly resisted same way the citizens of these perpetrating countries would have done if it were happening to them. We will resist it because for another country to decide who can and who cannot run office in Nigeria is an assault on our democracy.

"At a time the entire world is working to improve the credibility elections as a democratic tool worldwide, plying pressure on a potential candidate not to stand for office is a devious form of manipulation that can be classified on the same level with electoral violence and vote buying

"This would be the most irresponsible case of double standard ever knowing what the stance of these countries are when it comes to external interests attempting to influence the direction of elections in their territories," Ikpa noted.

Meanwhile, previously reported that the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, has indicated his interest to run against President Muhamamdu Buhari in the forthcoming presidential election.

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According to Bloomberg, Saraki said in an interview at his residence in Abuja: "I am consulting and actively considering it. I believe I can make the change.

He said: “The PDP has learnt its lesson from the loss in 2015, and I think unfortunately the APC did not learn from their victory.

"We have the opportunity with the right kind of presidential candidate and president to provide the leadership for the party. The party has a good opportunity to lead the country in the right direction.”

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