By Andrew Onyejuruuwa
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), has finally reacted to the official results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which declared the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari as the winner of Saturday’s Presidential elections. Buhari, INEC said, polled 15,191,847 votes to defeat Atiku in 19 states across the federation.
A statement released Atiku this morning after the INEC announcement notwithstanding the irregularities of the election thanked the Nigerian people who trooped out in their millions to perform their civic duty on Saturday. He noted that the patriotism of Nigerians is heartwarming and affirms his frequently repeated statement that Nigerians are brothers and sisters born from the womb of one mother.
Atiku said that with regards to the Presidential elections that took place on February 23, 2019, it is clear that there were manifest and premeditated malpractices in many states, which negate the results announced, adding that in his democratic struggles for the past three decades, he had never seen Nigeria’s democracy so debased as it was on Saturday, February 23, 2019.
Recalling the election of February 23, 2019. 2007 as a challenge, Atiku noted that President Yar’Adua was remorseful, but that in 2019, it is sad to see those who trampled on democracy thumping their noses down on the Nigerian people. He added, “One obvious red flag is the statistical impossibility of states ravaged by the war on terror generating much higher voter turnouts than peaceful states.
“The suppressed votes in my strongholds are so apparent and amateurish, that I am ashamed as a Nigerian that such could be allowed to happen. How can total votes in Akwa-Ibom, for instance, be 50% less than what they were in 2015? Another glaring anomaly is the disruption of voting in strongholds of the PDP in Lagos, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers and diverse other states, with the authorities doing little or nothing and in some cases facilitating these unfortunate situations.
“The militarization of the electoral process is a disservice to our democracy and a throwback to the jackboot era of military dictatorship. In some areas of the country, such as, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Imo states, troops deployed for the elections turned their guns on the very citizens they were meant to protect. This is condemnable and should not be associated with our electoral process in the future,” he argued.
On what he would consider the way forward, Atiku answered, “I am a democrat and there are democratic avenues available to present the truth to the nation and the watching world. Already, many international observers have given their verdicts, which corroborate our observations. I am sure more will come in the coming hours and days. I want to assure my supporters and the entire Nigerian people that together, we will not allow democracy to be emasculated. I hope and pray Nigerians will someday summon the courage to defend democracy. That is the only way we can move away from being the world headquarters for extreme poverty,” he concluded.