By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor, Emman Oviokpare, Ben Agande & Henry Umoru
LAGOS—The quick resolution of Tuesday’s presidential election in the United States, last night, sparked off quarel among the three leading parties in Nigeria, with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and opposition parties accusing one another of bad manners.
Reacting to the quick acceptance of defeat by Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, the PDP in a statement congratulating the victorious Barack Obama, had advised opposition parties in Nigeria to learn to accept defeat, accusing them of being bad losers.
The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN and the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC in separate reactions, tongue-lashed the PDP for being the major obstacle to democracy in the country. The ACN said the joke was on the PDP and charged the party to ask why its candidate in the recent Ondo State gubernatorial election, Olusola Oke was in the courts if really there was a level playing ground in the country.
President Obama’s victory was, nevertheless, hailed across the country with President Goodluck Jonathan, the Senate and the House of Representatives sending their respective congratulations to the victorious US Democratic Party candidate, Obama who was returned for a second term.
Opposition parties are bad losers — PDP
Urging Nigerians especially, the opposition and those who lose elections to emulate the action of the Republican candidate in his swift acceptance of defeat, the PDP said it was a good element of patriotism which opposition parties should learn to make Nigeria a greater nation.
“The swift manner of congratulations and the graceful conduct of the defeated candidate is a shining example of patriotism and submission to the overall will of the people,” the PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh said in a statement in Abuja, yesterday.
This act, according to the PDP, is one of the elements that have made America’s democracy the envy of all nations.
“The greatest threat to the stability of our democracy is the reckless bickering that happens after elections in Nigeria,” Metuh added.
“A lot of time and energy is decimated on frivolous legal suits and the pursuit of bitterness which indeed affects valuable time for the delivery of electoral promises.”
According to Metuh, the PDP was particularly delighted at the conciliatory posture of President Obama and his emphasis on the values that unite America rather than the divisions that manifested during the campaign, adding, “President Obama’s constant reference to patriotism and a sense of duty to America by Americans in his acceptance speech is another lesson we must imbibe in our quest to build our democracy. Also noteworthy is the charge by the re-elected President for Americans to always uphold the philosophy of “not expecting what can be done for us but what can be done by us to move our nation forward.
‘With this election, America has once more blazed the trail in overcoming its internal stratification for the overall benefit of their country”.
The joke is on PDP —ACN
The ACN and CPC in two separate reactions were unsparing in their denunciation of the PDP, accusing the dominant party of hamstringing the democratic process through devious schemes.
The ACN speaking through its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed told Vanguard yesterday:
“They are very daft with due respect. You see, it is a process and the only reason the loser was able to concede defeat was because there was a free and fair election.
“The joke is on them. Why is their own candidate for instance, in Ondo State challenging the outcome of the election? So, they should heal themselves first. They should ask, ‘why is their candidate, Oke, saying that the election is not free and fair that he is not going to congratulate Mimiko? Why? So the joke is on them.
“There is no lesson to learn except that if elections are free and fair, the losers will be willing to congratulate the winner. Romney immediately conceded defeat because he could not say there was ballot stuffing here or that a commissioner was arrested with AK-47,” the ACN spokesman said.
PDP should be ashamed — CPC
In his own reaction to the charge from the PDP, the CPC’s national publicity secretary, Engr. Rotimi Fashakin said:
“The ruling PDP leaders should be ashamed of themselves. The electoral process in the US – that is devoid of the do-or-die philosophy of the forebears of the PDP- is another pointer to the worthlessness of PDP rule in the country.
“Ordinarily, electoral contest, having been conducted with scrupulous adherence to governing rules, should be devoid of acrimony and bitterness as was seen in the recent US presidential elections. But the salient variable that is missing is the corruptive superimposition of the ruling PDP that removes the fairness, free-ness and credibility from our elections. Owing to the President’s indulgent use of executive powers in militarizing the polity for the purpose of election rigging, the inexorable consequence is rejection of results. Indeed, if elections are fair, we shall imbibe the culture of congratulating winners immediately. The question is, can the PDP really learn from this,” he asked.
Jonathan congratulates Obama
Meanwhile, President Jonathan, yesterday, congratulated Obama on his re-election, promising to sustain the cordial relations between the two countries.
In a statement issued on his behalf by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Reuben Abati, he said:
”On behalf of himself, the Federal Government and the people of Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan heartily congratulates President Barrack Obama on his success in winning re-election in yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) presidential elections in the United States.
“President Jonathan welcomes President Obama’s victory in an intensely fought presidential race as an endorsement by the good people of United States of his leadership, progressive world view and the very good work he has done in the past four years towards ending global economic depression and fostering global peace and security.
“Nigeria, the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union enjoyed very cordial and productive relations with the Obama Administration in his first term.
“President Jonathan looks forward to continuing to build on Nigeria’s and Africa’s developmental collaboration with the United States in the next four years.
“The President looks forward in particular to the further strengthening of US-Nigeria bilateral relations and the US-Nigeria Bi-National Commission which was established in President Obama’s first term as the primary platform for the promotion of greater trade and economic cooperation between both countries as well as bilateral collaboration in other areas.
“President Jonathan also hopes that the millions of people across the world, especially those in developing nations who watched the beauty and strength of democracy unfold in the United States presidential elections yesterday will come to a greater and better appreciation of democracy as the key to building peaceful, stable and progressive societies.
“The President wishes President Obama continued good health and God’s blessings and guidance as he prepares for his inauguration in January for a second term in office as the President of the United States of America.”
Senate, Reps hail Obama, Americans
Meanwhile, the Senate, yesterday, said that the election of the United States of America would serve as an inspiration to Nigerian politicians.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Publicity, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, noted that the will and wishes of the people prevailed, just as he stressed that there was no imposition of candidates during the primary election.
The Senate also congratulated the people of America and President Obama over his victory and expressed confidence in President Obama‘s ability to lead America out of the current economic challenges bedeviling the entire world.
Also yesterday, the House of Representatives congratulated Obama on his re-election.
This was sequel to a motion moved by Rep. Friday Itulah (PDP, Edo State) who in his motion said that the election had lessons for Nigeria to learn from.
Seconding the motion, Rep. Abike Dabri-Erewa said thatthe outcome of the election should be a source of inspiration for the Nigerian electorate and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Contributing to the debate on the motion, Rep. Samson Osagie appealed to INEC to learn from the experience of the US presidential election.
The motion was also supported by Rep. Nnenna Ukeje, Andrew Uchendu and Bimbo Daramola among others.