Despite alleged irregularities and harsh criticism of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Presidency has stated that the results of the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections would stand until otherwise proven in court, Punch reports.
Punch said that the President also ruled out the possibility of annulling the Presidential elections, as was done on June 12, 1993, instead advising dissatisfied opposition candidates to seek redress in court.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, revealed this in a piece chronicling key takeaways from the President’s recent trip to Doha, Qatar, where he attended the 5th United Nations Summit on Least Developed Countries.
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Long before INEC declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the winner of the election, the opposing People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP) called for the election to be cancelled due to irregularities.
In a press conference held in Abuja on Monday, February 27, the Vice Presidential candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP), Ifeanyi Okowa and Yusuf Datti, respectively, demanded fresh elections nationwide, claiming that INEC failed to transmit results electronically from the BIVAS to the iREV portal immediately after collation at Polling Units.
However, the electoral umpire went ahead with the collation process, which resulted in Tinubu receiving over eight million votes to become President-elect.
The ruling APC and the opposing PDP and LP have formed legal teams to fight in court. Advertisement However, according to the Presidency, Buhari remained circumspect about INEC’s criticism by ‘wishful thinkers’ because he had long decided not to make any decisions that would jeopardise the electoral process.
“President Buhari not only quieted himself after the cacophony, but he also increased his international travel.
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“Bola Tinubu’s election stands. Go to court if you are aggrieved and have the locus to do so,”‘ the statement said.
According to the Presidency, in the run-up to President Buhari’s trip to Qatar, he faced orchestrated attempts to poison public opinion against national institutions, particularly the presidential election and the conduct of the Independent National Electoral Commission, as an institution, against which vile and unsubstantiated allegations were levelled.
“The clear intent of this was to create an atmosphere of fear, polarising the public, and demonising the President’s administration,” Shehu says.
“Wishful thinkers seemed to believe that the June 12, 1993 election crisis, the worst since the Civil War, could be recreated.
“Those who sought to do so forgot what the President said at the Gbong-Gwon Jos palace when he visited the city to launch the Tinubu-Shettima campaign ‘this election will not be annulled; whoever wins will be president’.”
Buhari’s several iterations to world leaders in Qatar about handing over to a new President on May 29, 2023 were echoed by the presidential spokesman.
The President spoke with Iranian Vice President, Mohsen Mansouri, on Tuesday, calling for continued economic cooperation with the next administration, particularly in the sectors of energy, infrastructure, and culture.
President Buhari also urged Nigerians in Qatar to back Tinubu’s administration “so that Nigeria can continue to be a beacon of hope and prosperity in our continent, as well as an example for other African countries to follow.”