Michael Olugbode in Abuja
As the inauguration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima draw closer, more oppositions have continued to mount to it with the recent one coming from the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) United States of America (USA).
The association insisted that no swearing in should be held for the declared victors until all legal battles are settled from the presidential election tribunal, through Supreme Court, and up to Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Union (AU) and United Nations legal institutions.
Both Tinubu and Shettima of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission as president-elect and vice president-elect after the February 25 election. However, the that declaration is being challenged by both Abubakar Atiku (Peoples Democratic Party) and Peter Obi (Labour Party).
Atiku and Obi are not alone in the call for the election result to be upturned as several other Nigerians have as for the inauguration scheduled for May 29, which preparation is in top gear to be cancelled.
Adding to the voice is the NADECO USA which came out with a communique titled: “The Washington Declaration” that was issued at an international conference with theme: “Nigeria at the Crossroads: 2023 Elections, Issues and Solutions on Nigeria.”
The communiqué, which copy was made available to THISDAY yesterday claimed that the International Conference on Nigeria benefitted from poignant and incisive speeches by many NADECO founding members, and other well-meaning and respected Nigerians from around the world, with several other US friends and allies of organisation with long-standing ties to Nigeria and a passion for the growth of democracy in Nigeria in attendance.
The communique read: “Following extensive consultations with varied stakeholders including delegates from the UK, Canada, Nigeria, and the US at the recent NADECO USA Extraordinary Summit in Washington DC, NADECO makes the following recommendations on behalf of itself and its supporters among the Nigerian people, that:
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) brazenly violated the Electoral Act of 2022, violated its own guidelines, and lied to the Nigerian people when it promised on national television that it must transmit the election results from the polling units to the servers in real-time but failed to do so.”
The association therefore, called on “the Federal Government of Nigeria to immediately remove the present Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu.
“NADECO further calls on the arrest and prosecution of the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu and all the INEC officials found to have participated in the fraudulent elections.”
The association while stating that: “The Nigerian people seem to have lost faith in the Supreme Court of Nigeria for many obvious reasons,” asked that the apex court and the Election Tribunals must expeditiously and transparently consider election challenges, and in the case of the Presidency, if no final determination is reached on the results of the February 2023 election before the scheduled May 29, 2023 inauguration, then the Constitution must be followed, which provides for the Senate President to be installed as the acting President for three months to chart a legal transition of power in Nigeria.
The association said: “To achieve these objectives our legal panel recommended further that: Parties in the petition request and the court grant a writ of mandamus order requiring INEC to review all parties’ objections and reevaluate the election results within seven days as authorized by law which INEC failed to do, and
“That the tribunal’s proceedings be broadcast live given the global interest, import, and importance of the elections.
They warned: “That the Nigerian Supreme Court, the Nigerian Government, and all of its security agencies including DSS, refrain from hastily swearing in or facilitating the swearing-in of any of the 2023 Presidential Candidates until their exhaustion of all available remedies, including any appeals to a Sub-Regional, Regional, and or applicable international entities. These include the ECOWAS, AU and UN entities.
“Alternatively, given the widespread discontent and rejection of electoral process by Nigerians at home and abroad, the Nigeria Supreme Court is urged to rely on the “political question doctrine” to restrain itself from the polarizing nature of its decision regarding the 2023 Presidential Elections, and order INEC to conduct a fresh election which complies with the requirement of the Nigerian Constitution, the 2022 Electoral Act as amended, and INEC’s own guidelines.”
The association added that as part of its order, the Supreme Court may include provisions for the proper assistance to INEC, including from competent foreign agencies and the Nigerian Bar Association, so as to guarantee free and fair elections.
The association lamented that Nigerians have gotten increasingly confused by the Biden administration’s policies toward the people of Nigeria, insisting that the Biden administration continues to send conflicting and confusing signals to the Nigerian people such as the removal of Nigeria from the list of countries carrying out religious persecution, noting that the “facts are too glaring for anyone not to see the high-level state-sponsored religious persecution and oppression taking place in Nigeria yet the Biden administration has decided to keep a blind eye.”
The United States Government, is advised to: “Withhold any recognition of an incoming Nigerian government until the Supreme Court has thoroughly and transparently examined the 2023 election process and ruled definitively on the results of the 2023 elections in the same manner as the U.S. Government did with the 2022 elections in Kenya;
“Utilize all credible evidence to impose Magnitsky Act sanctions at the earliest possible time frame to punish all those found to have impeded or subverted the 2023 election process exercising all available sanctions on such individuals;
“Utilise the Gen. Abacha loot currently in asset forfeiture proceedings in US District Court to compensate victims of election violence in Nigeria, and
“Disclose and release all available records pertaining to the APC presidential candidate which are now at issue in the election petitions, to the courts for adjudication.”