From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Hundreds of protesters, yesterday, in Abuja, yesterday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to reject the outcome of the presidential election and constitute an Interim National Government (ING) before he leaves office on May 29.
They also demanded immediate sack, arrest and prosecution of the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu over his role in the conduct of election.
They carry placards with various inscriptions like: ‘Occupy INEC now’, ‘Democracy not INECracy’, ‘Buhari keep your promise’, ‘A fraud election cannot produce credible leader’, ‘Nigeria not for sale’, ‘Give us interim government and arrest INEC Chairman’, ‘Nigeria is worth more than N170m’, ‘Voter suppression is a crime’, ‘INEC use BVAS, justice is all we ask’, ‘Bigotry has no tribe’, ‘If we accept the 2023 elections how do we tell armed robbers and kidnappers that what they’re doing is wrong? and ‘Buhari prove that you have integrity, sack Mahmood now.’
Addressing newsmen at the Unity Fountain, where the protest took off, one of the group leaders, Moses Paul, explained that the interim government they were demanding would appoint a new INEC chairman and conduct a fresh election that would conduct an acceptable, free, fair and credible election to produce befitting president for Nigeria.
They warned that if their demands were not met, they would continue to occupy the street of Abuja, revealing that they have also written the embassies of the international community to advice the federal government accordingly.
“We are here as frustrated but true heroes of Nigeria. We are apolitical citizens of Nigeria standing on the part of our constitution and citizens right. We are here to address the greatest crime that has happened in the history of the country and the world.
“People were burnt in Kano, people were shot in Rivers, and we saw the greatest inhumanity happen in Lagos in this election. The right of Nigerians have been trampled upon. Even at that, Yakubu went ahead to declare a candidate president-elect in the night.
“We are making two demands. We are asking President Buhari to direct the DSS or relevant authority to arrest immediately and prosecute the chairman of INEC for committing the greatest fraud in the history of humanity.
“Secondly, we are asking that an interim government be put in place.
“His (Buhari) tenure is ending and as a father he should put in place interim government that will appoint another chairman to conduct a free, fair and credible election and have a president that will be befitting to our country.
“We are also demanding immediate resignation of Mahmood, investigated and prosecution by the EFCC, ICPC. We also want to warn the judiciary and judges to ensure that justice prevail.”
Paul said they would use every lawful means to ensure their demands were met.
We are also calling on the international community, we have been to the US Embassy, British Council and written to the French Embassy urging all of them to advice the Nigeria government that Nigerians are not happy. The government should know that if you push a goat to the wall, it will bite.
“If we allow the 2023 election to stay without meeting up our demands, it means justifying the terrorism, robbery and even kidnapping in the country. We will continue to occupy until they meet our demands,” they warned.
In one of the letters made available to newsmen addressed to the United State Embassy and Consulate, the protesters called for sanction against the INEC Chairman.
The letter partly read: “The conduct of the elections in substantial none compliance with the extant legal framework.
“These criminal actions of Mahmood Yakubu have led to the dampening of the revived spirits of youths who in anticipation of a country that works for all, turned out in their large numbers to vote, some for the first time in their lives, for their preferred candidates only to be greeted with violence and subversion of their collective will.
“Based on the foregoing, we pray your good offices to amongst other appropriate sanctions, withdraw the visas of Mahmood Yakubu, all the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) where these infractions were prevalent, particularly the RECs of Lagos, Rivers, Borno, Zamfara, Niger, Jigawa, Kano, Imo, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Ogun, Oyo, parts of Cross River, parts of Katsina and Edo State.”
Rein in your supporters, APC tells LP, others
However, the APC cautioned protesters to be wary of going against the the law.
National Publicity Secretary of the ruling, Felix Morka, who reacted, also urged the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the Labour Party (LP) and other political leaders to rein in their supporters.
“We have had an election and INEC is the only one that has authority to conduct the election. The commission has so declared Bola Tinubu as President-elect and it does not lie on the mouth of any other citizen to reject INEC’s declaration.
“If you are not happy with that outcome, the law has provided for a judiciary system, an independent judiciary to review what has happened in the election and to make the appropriate determination as they consider fit. That is the only avenue left. No citizen, no matter how highly placed, including Peter Obi and Baba-Ahmed Datti should incite civil disobedience or promote violence or conflict when, in fact, they have gone to the court already.
“They have filed their actions in court. But, how can they go to court for judicial review and still chose to be on the pages of newspapers and airwaves inciting people to some level of insurrection? That is unacceptable.
“And I think these leaders should take some responsibilities and call their supporters to order because we are a country of laws and not country where any one’s wishes. That will not happen,” he warned.