Presidential election: Save Nigeria from looming crisis, war, Youths tell Buhari, INEC, Court
A group of Nigerian youths under the aegis of Youths for Credible Democrats of Nigeria (YCDN), have warned that the aftermath of the presidential election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on February 25, 2023, might lead to serious civil crisis that might set Nigeria on fire, and further derail the country's nascent democracy, if not managed well.
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The group, which also described the polls as a monumental disappointment to Nigerians, especially the youths that troop out in their great numbers to cast their votes, maintained that President Mohammadu Buhari, the Nigerian judiciary and INEC have roles to play to avert crisis.
These are contained in a communique issued by the group at the end of their bi-annual conference held in Abagana, Njikoka local government area of Anambra state, on Tuesday, March 14.
Legit.ng's regional reporter in Anambra, Mokwugwo Solomon, noted that the communique was jointly signed by the Executive Chairman of the group, Barr Ndubuisi Uyammadu; the Executive Secretary, Malam Faruk Garkida; and 28 other coordinators from different states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, who were present at the meeting.
The communique reads partly:
"The presidential and national assembly elections have been concluded, and the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Progress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as winner.
"The declaration of Tinubu was rejected by major political opponents, who called for a total cancellation. They pointed out that the elections were heavily flawed with potent evidence of manipulations, harassment, violence, intimidation and stealing and destruction of electoral materials.
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"As it stands, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) have taken their grievances to court. They agreed that INEC worked to favour the ruling party by ignoring the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the promise to electronically transmit results to IReV in real time. But all the calls made to INEC to call off the announcement of results to review identified lapses fell in deaf ears.
“The resilience, the hard work, and commitment of Nigerians in voting in the 2023 general elections, even in the face of unwarranted attacks, are testimonials that Nigerian citizens want the best for the country. People like Lady Jennifer, who was stabbed in Lagos; but insisted on voting, showed how committed Nigerians were towards the 2023 presidential election.
“The election, according to observers, was a clear violation of the electoral rules and guidelines; as it did not meet the minimum standard expected of a free, transparent, credible and fair election. It will go down as one of the most controversial elections ever conducted in Nigeria; as Nigerians, who trooped out to vote were robbed and disappointed by the political leadership.
"Foreign and domestic observers rate it as the worst conducted elections since the return to democratic rule in 1999. The manipulation and fraud that attended the election was unprecedented in history. Nigerian youths can still not understand why the electoral umpire bypassed the BVAS, failed to upload results to the IREV, and further disenfranchised millions of voters in breach of the Electoral Act and the commission’s own guidelines. It was indeed a rapee of democracy.
"The 2023 presidential election had presented to Nigerians the greatest opportunity for a reset. Before the election, the country had everything going for us: a legal framework in the 2022 Electoral Act and the BVAS technology. The Nigerian populace, with enthusiasm, turned out in large numbers to vote. However, the dreams of Nigerians were shattered by the conduct of the election, which was neither free nor fair."
The group told President Mohammadu Buhari, the INEC and the Nigerian judiciary that the ball is now in their court to remedy the situation. The group warned that the election and its outcome might lead to a destructive process that might gradually accentuate, and harm the society; insisting that the aspiration of millions of Nigerians that trooped out to vote should not be taken for granted.
The group added, "INEC requested for N305 billion to conduct the 2023 general election, and the money was provided with the believe that they would follow the electoral act, and conduct credible election that would be acceptable to Nigerians. This is the first time in history that Nigerians in diaspora returned in their millions to register and collect their PVCs. They went back and still returned to Nigeria to cast their votes only to get disappointed.
"As the matter goes to court, Nigerian youths will monitor the process and its progress. We'll monitor the judges that would adjudicate on the matter. We'll monitor Mr President's body language as the matter progresses,and we'll monitor INEC, because, the individuals and institutions involved in the process must choose between doing the right thing, and keeping the country as one; or thwarting the wishes of the people, and end up creating the atmosphere that will ultimately disintegrate the country.