…warns Nigerians won’t accept result of rigged polls
By Soni Daniel
Worried by the possibility of manipulation of the 2019 polls, a group made up of prominent Nigerians, whose membership cuts across the globe, has made a passionate plea to the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Union to do all within their powers to ensure that the Nigerian election is conducted peacefully and creditably.
The Nigerian Think-Tank, known as We The People of Nigeria, led by a prominent lawyer, Dr. Lloyd Ukwu, made the plea after its three-member delegation made presentations to key functionaries of the European Union in Brussels, Washington and London on the need for them to be fully involved in ensuring that the Nigerian elections, which have been rescheduled by a week, is conducted under a free, fair and credible atmosphere devoid of any form of threat and arm-twisting by any of the contestants.
A statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Sunday by Dr. Llyod Ukwu, who is the founder and head of delegation to the countries, said that during the visit, the team met, discussed and engaged with the U.S State Department, U.S Congress and the Senate of the United States of America as well as deliver a letter to the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Cohen, in New York all in a bid to bring to ensure the success of the Nigerian elections.
In all the three countries visited, the delegation insisted on their host to ensure that the elections now rescheduled for February 23 and March 9, 2019, are not rigged by any of the parties and that no violence is visited on anyone before, during and after the polls.
The group asked the foreign nations to insist that Nigerians are not intimidated, threatened, killed or denied their basic human and democratic rights in the course of the elections, warning that Nigerians would not accept the result of rigged polls.
They three-man delegation called on those countries to impress upon President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the PDP to work towards and election that if fair, and corruption and violence free.
The statement said, “We ask that efforts are undertaken in advance of the elections to call upon both principal candidates and parties, incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Conference (APC) and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to pledge to work toward an election that is fair and free from corruption and violence.
“As you may be aware, ominous signs exist in Nigeria at present that suggest the upcoming Nigerian Presidential election may be marred by corruption, vote buying, intimidation of the electorate and sectarian or religious based violence leading to internal convulsions and violence to the detriment of the Nigerian people and the security of the West African sub region.
“It is essential to the security of Nigeria and the African Continent that the integrity of Nigeria’s Presidential electoral processes is preserved. It is mandatory that an unambiguous message is sent that any violence or electoral misconduct in the upcoming Nigerian Presidential Election will not be discountenanced by USA, Great Britain and the European Union countries. The recent events in Venezuela are at risk of being repeated in Nigeria by the end of this month unless something is done.
“WE THE PEOPLE OF NIGERIA therefore respectfully calls upon the international community to use their good offices to speak out for the Nigerian people and ask that efforts are undertaken in advance of the February 23, 2019 election in lieu of simple observers of the anticipated corruption and violence.
“WE THE PEOPLE OF NIGERIA asks the international community to facilitate in-country personal meetings between the international delegates and both Pres. Buhari and former Vice Pres. Abubakar to individually impress upon them the grave importance that the upcoming electoral process must be fair, open and peaceful. We also urge that you will impress upon both candidates and their parties that the international community will not take any contrary actions lightly,” the group stated.
Places visited by the Nigerian delegation included: The US Congress, Office of the US President, and the Senate of the US, National Press Club in Washington, where they addressed the American press on the elections and the Office of the Prime Minister as well as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK.
The team’s final stop was the European Union in Brussels where a letter was delivered to the Secretary General of the European Union.