Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that his administration not only conducts a credible, free and fair general elections in 2019, but also be prepared to accept the outcome of the poll in good faith should he and the ruling All Progressives Congress fail to win the presidential contest.
Ekweremadu, who spoke at the Parliament of the United Kingdom, where he delivered a lecture entitled, “African Politics: The Dynamics and Lessons,” warned that any attempt to manipulate the election would threaten the peace in Nigeria.
A statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media, Uche Anichukwu, in Abuja on Friday quoted him as saying, “Former President Goodluck Jonathan put Nigeria on the global map as a leading democratic nation when he put in everything to ensure free and fair elections (in 2015), in which he did not only lose the presidential poll as an incumbent but also willingly conceded defeat.
“In fact, he called the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and congratulated him, even before the announcement of the final results. In addition, neither former President Jonathan nor the Peoples Democratic Party challenged the outcome of the election in court.
“Therefore, to whom much is given much is expected. The onus is now on President Buhari to likewise provide a level playing field and show uncommon statesmanship if he and his party lose the 2019 presidential election. That way, Africa’s biggest democracy will further entrench the culture of peaceful and smooth transfer of power from a ruling party to the opposition in both Nigeria and Africa.
“Any attempt to manipulate the 2019 elections to the advantage of self or party will not augur well for peace and democracy, not only in Nigeria but the entire continent. God forbid!”
The Deputy Senate President added, “Important too, in the present age of technology, I will like to see African countries deploying the latest technology in voter registration, vote counting and announcement of results.
“We must ensure that the process is sufficiently transparent and unarguably so, such that losers will see and be convinced that they lost fairly. That way, election tribunals will be eliminated.”
Ekweremadu decried the sit-tight syndrome in Africa, which he described as a grave danger to Africa’s democracies.
Drawing inspiration from the words of the late former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, he noted that his admonition became necessary owing to the pivotal and strategic roles Nigeria is playing in Africa, stating that for Africa to be respected by the rest of the world, Nigeria must not only lead the way but also earn the respect of the world.
Ekweremadu urged African leaders to respect term limits, saying, “Many African leaders do not seem to care about the law of diminishing returns, but you can never cheat nature.”
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