Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele representing Ekiti Central District has urged Nigerians to ignore what he described as the ill-motivated advice by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the ongoing 2023 general elections.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Legal Matters and Human Rights made the call in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
The former president had, on Monday in a letter to the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, called for the halting of the collation of the results of the presidential election and cancellation of the entire electoral exercise.
Bamidele, however, expressed concern that Obasanjo’s claims were spurious, flimsy and unjustifiable to cancel a general election where huge financial and human resources had been committed.
The senator said Obasanjo’s position was a deliberate attempt to truncate Nigeria’s democracy and open invitation to anarchy.
“It is a devious assault on the collective civility and sensibility of the people of Nigeria who came out enmasse to exercise their franchise in fulfillment of their civic responsibilities on Feb. 25.
“It is also an utter disrespect to the democratic world and the delegation of international observers who monitored the election with keen interest and adjudged it as a free, fair and credible process,” he said.
Bamidele described the entire process so far as an improvement on the previous elections in the country.
The Chairman, Southern Senators’ Forum, also said “Obasanjo’s unsolicited reactionary posturing on the just-concluded presidential election is characteristic of his anti-democratic and subversive tendencies which he had displayed on several occasions over the years.
“This is the same Obasanjo who publicly adopted Peter Obi, the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party and urged Nigerians to vote for him. Unfortunately, Peter Obi lost woefully in the polling unit right in front of his (Obasanjo’s) house in Abeokuta. Apparently.
“Obasanjo is jittery because of the outcome of the election which invariably may not be in favour of his adopted candidate. He is a bad loser”
Bamidele said that it was ridiculous and highly disheartening for Obasanjo to utterly question the credibility of an election where many sitting governors, senators and members of the House of Representatives failed to win their National Assembly elections.
He said in addition to this was the inability of the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Bola Tinubu to win in Lagos State, an outcome he said he had accepted in good faith.
He added that Obasanjo as incumbent President of Nigeria was alleged to have massively rigged the 2003 general elections for his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and perpetrated the same executive lawlessness in 2007 when he foisted late Umar Yar’adua on Nigerians, following his failed third term agenda.
He said, ”how could a former president call for cancellation of the election where the APC failed to win in Lagos State, an election where President Muhammadu Buhari lost Katsina State to PDP, an election where the Director-General of APC Presidential Campaign Council?
“Gov. Simon Lanlong lost in his state, an election in which the Governor of Kano State, Umar Ganduje and the Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade failed to deliver respectively for their political parties, as not free and fair elections.
”We are all living witnesses of what transpired during Obasanjo’s tenure when he said “election is a do.or die affair”, in which many results were announced when people were still voting.
”I pray that Nigeria will not again witness such dark days of Obasanjo when his own anointed candidate, Umar Musa Yara’dua himself admitted that the election that brought him to power was not free, fair and credible.
“It is obvious that Obasanjo is pained that he is unable to install his own candidate with the outcome of the election and that is the reason for his emergency televised address in Abeokuta, Ogun State.”
Bamidele pointed out that the credibility of the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections is unprecedented in the political history of Nigeria, such that it is largely devoid of financial inducement and electoral malpractices.
He said that the pockets of violence and irregularities that trailed the process in some parts of the country were not enough reasons for anybody to call for cancellation.
He called on all well-meaning Nigerians and lovers of democracy not to keep silent in the face of Obasanjo’s onslaught, urging them to rise up to defend the sanctity of Nigeria’s fledgling democracy and the constitutionality of the just-concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections.
He added that Nigerians must condemn the unjust, undignified, undemocratic and unpopular interjection of Obasanjo in the ongoing electoral process.
He also enjoined Nigerian youths to totally ignore Obasanjo and his cohorts who are making devious and desperate moves to plunge the entire nation into another season of civil unrest and political instability.
He urged them not to be swayed into any action capable of derailing the nation’s, saying they should rather question the credibility and ulterior motives of the anti-democratic forces calling for the election cancellation.
Bamidele urged INEC to proceed with the collation and declaration of results and ensure that the winner of the 2023 presidential election is announced without any delay for Nigeria to move forward as a democratic nation.