Leaders of thought, elder statesmen from four of the six geo-political zones of the country, on the platform of Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), have noted that President Muhammadu Buhari’s silence in the face of allegations of irregularities and compromise against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was dangerous.
In a statement, the leaders of the Middle- Belt, Ohanaeze, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), South-South, and Afenifere, the groups said that it became more disturbing when President Buhari had to embark on an international journey soon after the elections, when there were complaints.
In the statement by the PANDEF leader, Chief Edwin Clark; Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; Dr. Pogu Bitrus, President, Middle Belt Forum; Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife – former Governor of Anambra State and Ambassador Okey Emuchay, Secretary General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, SMBLF took a swipe at the open declaration by President Buhari through a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, that he will inaugurate President-elect, Bola Tinubu as President of Nigeria on May 29, 2023, and that there will not be a repeat of the June 12, 1993 presidential poll saga, saying that Nigeria as a country is in a democracy and not a military Junta.
According to the leaders, the President has no right whatsoever to determine who would be sworn into office on May 29, 2023, against the backdrop that the case was currently with the judiciary, and the President has no known powers to determine for the Judiciary who will win the case before her.
The leaders urged the President to allow the Judiciary to do its job, without interference, and relieve Nigeria from any political crisis.
They said that his utterances are prejudicial and are in contempt to a fair hearing, adding that it is offensive to the law of the land and it is obstruction of justice and an intimidation to the Lord Justices who are to hear the case.
The leaders said that statements by the Presidency should be regarded as an indirect attempt at directing the Court as to what it should do on the case.
The letter is titled, ‘Post 2023 Presidential Election And State Of The Nation’
The letter read in part: “It’s hoped that Mr. President will carefully reflect on the issues raised herein and act accordingly, not only in the interest of Nigeria’s unity and stability, but the sustenance of our democratic journey as well.
“Your Excellency, across Nigeria, voters of all ages and groups, consider the conduct and outcome of the February 25 presidential election as fraudulent. Likewise, many foreign and local observers concluded that the conduct of the election failed to meet the expectations of Nigerians and that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) failed to follow the Electoral Act 2022, and even its own guidelines in the conduct of the poll.
“This was in spite of the humongous amount of tax payers’ money spent by INEC and the promises of free, fair and credible elections given to Nigerians and the international community, ahead of the elections, by Mr. President and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“Indeed, there’s palpable tension in the country and Nigeria would have been sweltering now were it not for the appeals for calm by well-meaning Nigerians, particularly the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the election, Mr. Peter Obi, and most of us, who are elders and statesmen across the country.
“Unfortunately, while we are imploring for peace and calm on the part of all who are dissatisfied with the conduct and outcome of the polls, and to hold forth for the judiciary to dispense justice on the matter, it seems Mr. President and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, do not appreciate the mood of the country.”