President Muhammadu Buhari has advised opposition parties with grievances over the outcome of the elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states to seek redress in court.
The president’s statement came despite the very obvious rigging, manipulation, thuggery, violence, and general undermining of the electoral process in the Kogi and Bayelsa elections held on Saturday.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Yahaya Bello of Kogi and David Lyon of Bayelsa winner of the governorship elections.
Buhari who congratulated Bello and Lyon described the victory of the APC in Bayelsa State as impressive. He also described Bello’s victory as “a race well run and a victory well won.”
“The President describes the election and emergence of the APC candidate in Kogi State as “a race well run and a victory well won.” He condoled with families of those who lost their loved ones during the election in Kogi.
The statement further stated that; “President Buhari urges Governor Bello to see his renewed mandate as another opportunity to build on the foundation already laid towards improving the lives of the people of Kogi State.
Despite the huge disenfranchisement of voters due to violence, Buhari commended the people of the states for exercising their civic rights in a peaceful manner, notwithstanding the pockets of unrest recorded in some locations.
Buhari further noted that “Violence during elections vitiates our commitment to demonstrate to the world and upcoming generation that we are a people capable of electing leaders in a peaceful and orderly manner.”
“He notes that while officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies did their best within the ambit of the law to ensure free, fair and credible elections, it is unfortunate that pockets of unrest, mostly sponsored by desperate politicians, were recorded during the polls.
“The President looks forward to working with the incoming government to improve the lives of the people in Bayelsa State, while ensuring the security of lives and property of all citizens.
“President Buhari urges the Governor-elect, Lyon, to carry other divergent interests along in the next phase of governance, imploring those not satisfied with the outcome of the polls to seek redress through the constitutionally established channels.”
The Presidency further asked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to accept the defeat, saying that elections cannot be good only when the PDP wins.
“It has now become standard procedure for the party to challenge any poll that does not return its candidates. An election is good when the PDP wins. The opposite is the case if any party other than the PDP wins.
“Democracy is not only about who wins or who loses, but also about the process. In disparaging every unfavourable result, they disgrace themselves by casting aspersions on the entire system”, a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Mr Garba Shehu, said.
“The February 2019 election saw the loss of five APC governors’ seats. The government accepted the results. In doing so, we realised that we did not win the argument in those contests, and so we didn’t win enough votes.
“We retired to assess what went wrong were we responsive enough to the electorate’s needs and priorities? How can we improve on speaking to the nation’s hopes? We got ready and prepared ourselves well for the next contest. The result is a healthier, more rigorous election.
“Opposition strategy of attacking the electoral commission, security agencies, government at the centre and the person of President Muhammadu Buhari after each election loss is antithetical to healthy democratic norms. Candidates and parties, especially those that have lost, are not told to examine their campaign tactics and strategies with a view to improving their chances for the next election. The result of not doing this is a loss for the electorate and for the parties concerned.
“We call on the APC supporters to show dignity in victory, and for all Nigerians to remain peaceful in the wake of these elections. We call on the PDP to learn to be democrats. We must now come together to build a brighter future for Nigeria.”
Ibrahim Kenneth Suleiman is the Chief Political Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He is a graduate of political science from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State. He specializes in preparing/approving of political news contents before publication. He currently heads Naija Buzz News team of political correspondents. From Nasarawa State, North-Central Nigeria, Ibrahim is a strong supporter of Manchester United Football Club England.