The Igbo Elders Consultative Forum Federal Capital Territory Abuja, has said that the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the last presidential election in Nigeria, Peter Obi will be declared winner and president-elect.
Speaking at a press conference jointly addressed by the chairman of the group, Dr Chukwuemeka Nzeife and secretary, Prof Charles Nwekeaku, they said they are confident that Obi won the election and will soon be declared as the authentic winner of the February 25 presidential election.
“The Igbo Elders Consultative Forum met recently; reviewed and critically analyzed some national issues including the fall-out of the February 25, 2023 Presidential/National Assembly Elections and resolved as follows:
“The media reports credited to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Gen Muhammadu Buhari that he would swear-in Mr Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 25, 2023 presidential elections as the new President of Nigeria on May 29, 2023 despite the fact that the matter is before a court of competent jurisdiction is shocking and embarrassing to the members of the Igbo Elders Consultative Forum.
“It would be recalled that both His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and His Excellency, Mr Peter Obi the presidential candidates of both the PDP and the Nigeria Labour Party, respectively have both challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), declaration of Mr Ahmed Tinubu as the president elect in a controversial and fraudulently conducted election.
“The statement credited to Mr President, which is yet to be refuted, is the height of arrogance, insensitivity, madness, unpatriotism and prejudice. Many credible international and local observers, including the Igbo Elders Consultative Forum have condemned that election as fraudulent, dubious and irresponsible exercise capable of setting Nigeria ablaze as INEC has failed in every material content to meet its own yardstick for free, fair and credible elections.
“The voting materials, polling and security agents arrived very late in different parts of the country on the voting day, as INEC deliberately refused to upload or transmit the votes to the central server as stipulated in the 2022 new Electoral Act. In some cases, there were no security agents in polling units thereby exposing the electoral officers and voting materials to unimaginable risks and dangers. In few cases where INEC reluctantly transmitted results, it was selective as only the Senate and House of Representatives results were uploaded, while the presidential results were blatantly and recklessly abandoned, and, in some cases ‘doctored to suit the interest of INEC and its paid masters. Therefore, Mr President’s comment before the judicial pronouncement on the matter is considered as the height of insensitivity, indecorum, arrogance and naked intimidation of Nigerians who, despite the existential hardships, trooped out in millions to vote for a new and functional Nigeria.”
Speaking further, the group expressed optimism, noting that, with the court case, they are confident Obi will emerge as the next Nigerian president.
However, they condemned the intimidation, harassment and destruction of shops and other properties of non-indigenes in some parts of the country, especially in Lagos and Rivers states, where the ruling political parties totally lost to the Labour Party in the last presidential election as worrisome, disturbing, embarrassing and dangerous to democracy, noting that it is capable of setting this country on fire.
“That the government is yet to arrest and prosecute the culprits, who perpetrated these heinous crimes is even more worrisome and embarrassing, as it raises a fundamental question of whether the Federal Government is still capable of protecting lives and property of Nigerians, which is the primary responsibility of every modern government.
“We, therefore, call on the Federal Government and various state governments to rise up to the occasion of the protection of lives and property of Nigerians especially non-indigenes in Lagos and Rivers States to avoid reprisal effects and the resultant instability and destabilisation of this country by the enemies of progress.
“We also demand that the victims of these unwarranted intimidation, harassment and destruction of lives and property should be paid adequate compensation and properly rehabilitated as loyal citizens of this country.”
The group, therefore called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, to conduct free, fair and credible elections on Saturday and also ensure that, votes are transmitted immediately at the polling units, as provided in the 2022 new Electoral Act.
“INEC should ensure adequate security for polling materials and voters at the polling units in various parts of the country. The Igbo Elders Consultative Forum wishes to encourage Nigerians to vote in this weekend’s election and retire from politics all non-performing governors and legislators for a new and functional Nigeria,” the group said.