Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has hailed a ranking member of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Jim Risch, for pointing out the fact that Nigeria’s recently concluded presidential election was fraught with irregularities.
He also hailed Risch for criticising the US government over its decision to hurriedly embrace Bola Tinubu as president-elect despite damning reports from election observers.
Senator Risch had said, “The ongoing electoral process in Nigeria is widely viewed as deeply flawed by election observers and many Nigerians. It is disappointing to see the administration rush to embrace the result, while the full picture of what occurred during this electoral process is yet to be seen.
“I’ve expressed similar concerns related to other areas of our relationship with the Nigerian government. I worry this rush to judgement will undermine our ability to be an effective partner to all Nigerians, especially given their longstanding desire for democracy.”
Responding in a statement on Saturday, Atiku through his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, said posterity would be kind to Senator Risch for siding with the people of Nigeria even against the US government.
Atiku said, “Senator Risch’s name will be etched in the minds of Nigerians forever. Posterity will be kind to him for speaking up at this crucial point in history. His action is reminiscent of the late US Ambassador, Walter Carrington, who acted as an activist, insisting on the June 12 mandate from 1993 till 1997 during the repressive regime of General Sani Abacha.
“Senator Risch has confirmed what objective observers revealed. And that is that the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria was a sham, a usurpation of the will of the people and a stain on the history of Nigeria.”
The PDP presidential candidate also commended The Guardian Newspaper of London, the Financial Times of London, and a Nigerian newspaper for their strongly worded editorials, where they described in detail what really happened in the February 25 election.
Atiku’s aide noted that the Financial Times in its editorial titled, ‘Nigeria’s Badly Flawed Election Fails to Set an Example’ dismissed the poll for the sham that it was.
“What Nigeria needed above all was a clean election to reiterate the basic message of democracy: that a sovereign people can choose its leaders. Sadly, it did not happen. The election – which appears to have delivered the Presidency to Bola Tinubu, a wealthy political fixer running for the incumbent All Progressives Congress – was badly managed at best. It failed to set the example needed for West Africa,” The Financial Times stated.
It added, “INEC badly misfired. Voting started late in many districts, depriving millions of the right to vote. The system to upload the results from 177,000 polling stations stuttered, causing legitimate concerns of vote tampering during long delays. Violence was troubling. Party goons invaded many polling stations in what appeared to be blatant acts of intimidation. The Financial Times witnessed armed men remove a presidential ballot box in Surulere, Lagos.”
He also commended The PUNCH for its scathing editorial, where it described in graphic detail how thugs acting on the instruction of the APC used violence to intimidate voters in Lagos.
The PUNCH particularly stated, “In Ikate, Lagos, gunmen invaded a centre, scattered the voting materials, causing voters to flee. The soldiers nearby saved the day. There was also violence in Oshodi and Okota, compounded by the late arrival of materials in polling centres, which was reportedly instigated by a faction of the road transport union that refused to move materials. Thugs threatened those who refused to vote for the All Progressives Congress in Shitta, Surulere, Lagos.”
Atiku argued that the crown that Tinubu was wearing was stained with the blood of innocent Nigerians who were bold enough to resist the APC on the day of the election.
He added, “Tinubu’s pyrrhic victory will be short-lived. The stolen crown balances on his head precariously. He will continue to shake until he drops it. It is funny that Lagos was the fulcrum of Tinubu’s campaign as he promised to replicate the miracle of Lagos across Nigeria, and yet the people of Lagos rejected him on the day of election.
“Tinubu lost in Ikeja local government where he had voted and also lost in Bourdillon, Ikoyi where he lives. Rather than accept the will of the people, he unleashed thugs on the people he claimed to love. Jennifer Efidi Bima was hit in the face by Tinubu’s hounds in Surulere. Her blood-stained ballot paper is a testament to the resolve of the people as he still lost in Lagos despite the violence.
“Ahead of the governorship election, Tinubu will once again relocate to Lagos, where he will try to unleash violence on the people in order to ensure that his puppet, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is re-elected. Nigerians must rise up against such tyranny.”
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