Elections: Don’t truncate Nigeria’s democracy, no mandate stolen, Abuja protesters back INEC
Elections: Don’t truncate Nigeria’s democracy, no mandate stolen, Abuja protesters back INEC

Scores of protesters under the aegis of The Natives took to the streets of the Federal Capital Territory on Monday to warn opposition parties and critics calling for an interim government not to truncate the nation’s democracy.

This is even as they backed the continual stay in office of the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, saying those calling for his resignation under the guise of a ‘stolen mandate’ were being mischievous.

The vote of confidence is coming in the wake of a similar demonstration at the Unity Fountain in Abuja four days ago where protesters under the umbrella of the National Youth League for Defence of Democracy called for Yakubu’s arrest and immediate prosecution over their acclaimed dissatisfaction in the conduct of the 2023 elections.

While calling for cancellation of the polls, the group begged President Muhammadu Buhari to endeavour to put in place an interim government before he leaves office on May 29.

But while marching through the streets of Abuja on their way to INEC office on Monday, The Natives vowed to resist any attempt to install an interim government in place of a proper hand over to the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Addressing newsmen, the Coordinator of the group, Smart Edwards, appealed to the president and the international community to ignore the call, saying Nigerians could not afford to witness a repeat of the June 12 presidential election fiasco.

He said, “No mandate was stolen. It was either you (opposition parties) did not network with your people and Nigerians well enough, or your people did anti-party activities against you. Now, we have witnessed the Peoples Democratic Party ‘suspending’ its National Chairman, the same man who campaigned for the party. That’s also a democracy.

“Today, we are declaring absolutely that no mandate was stolen. INEC performed creditably and the election was free and fair. The election saw the New Nigeria People’s Party win election in Kano State. Although we have seen the APC challenging the outcome by deciding to go to court, that’s also democracy. The PDP won election in Rivers, Enugu, Taraba, Delta and Plateau states. In fact, the APC candidate in Plateau has congratulated the winner even if his party chooses to proceed to court. That’s still democracy.

“In Benue, the APC has a Reverend Father who won election overwhelmingly against the incumbent, that’s democracy. We saw Peter Obi win election against his Lagos landlord. That’s also the beauty of democracy.

“Those calling for interim government are jokers because when Ernest Shonekan was brought in the past, the people rejected it. Africa’s base for democracy is Nigeria. We have Goodluck Jonathan who is a symbol of democracy. We also had late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, General Yakubu Gowon and others. President Muhammadu Buhari has made his intention clear when he said that he would hand over to Asiwaju Tinubu. And that’s why we are out today to show solidarity for that solemn promise.

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