By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA – Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Yekini Nabena has faulted the reports of three international election observation mission to Nigeria’s 2019 general elections, saying the reports were influenced by those who looted the country in the past in active connivance with international forces.
“It is on record that the international forces had tried even before the 2019 elections to use some of their agents in Nigeria to discredit President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid. Some of them, who were direct beneficiaries of looted funds in the past openly castigated the re-election plan through open letters and different conferences”, he alleged.
Nabena was reacting to the post-election reports of the European Union Election Observation Mission EU-EOM and the joint observation missions of the National Democratic Institute NDI and the International Republican Institute IRI in which the three bodies accused the political class, and state actors under the control of the presidency of vote-buying, highhandedness and intimidation of the media, observers, voters and members of the opposition.
Nabena however described President Muhammadu Buhari as a bastion of democracy and credible elections, especially following the president’s recognition and assent to June 12 as the country’s Democracy Day, adding that the recent move by some international observers to discredit 2019 elections was a wasted efforts.
He also described the reports as released by the EU, NDI and IRI as part of an international conspiracy against Nigeria.
According to Nabena, “It was a western agenda to destabilize democratic process in Nigeria. These same forces have tried to use ethnic agenda but failed. They tried to use Boko Haram and other security challenges but the APC administration is up to the task”.
The Bayelsa-born APC Chieftain who was speaking with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, said President Buhari proved himself a patriot and displayed a sincerity of purpose unlike past presidents who politicised and paid lip service to the June 12 struggle since 1999.
“Since 1999, former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan missed the opportunity to redress the wrongs of June 12, 1993, but instead chose to play politics with the issue. President Buhari in assenting into law June 12 as Nigeria’s democracy day proved himself a patriot, democrat and strong defender of credible elections. President Buhari has undoubtedly been inducted into the democracy Hall of Fame”, he said.
Nabena countered the reports of the foreign missions, saying while there were isolated cases of irregularities, the election was credible and a marked improvement compared to the 2015 exercise.
Nabena said; “Elections conducted under President Buhari have witnessed increased sanctity of votes and the entire electoral process. For example, the 2019 election witnessed increased use of the card readers and reduced the prevalence of vote-buying, violence, ballot box snatching and announcement of fraudulent election results.
“It should be noted that no election is perfect anywhere in the world, including the United State of America. I suspect that the Buhari-led government’s economic diversification policy which has drastically reduced heavy reliance on the Western countries seem to be a major burden to some persons, hence the negative narrations.
“It is also surprising that these international observers didn’t put into consideration how many states the ruling party lost to opposition PDP in the said elections. Then I ask, if the elections were not credible how come opposition had it way easily in some states?”, Nabena queried.