Coalition urges Obi to accept outcome of 2023 presidential election

The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations under the auspices of Middle-Belt Pan Nigerian Forum has urged the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, to respect the outcome of the 2023 Nigerian general elections and move on.

In a statement issued by Dr. Danladi Ceceko, the group’s spokesperson, the coalition asserted that the election results, which saw the victory of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), reflected the wishes of the Nigerian people.

“It is evident for all to see that the 2023 general elections, especially the presidential poll, were among the freest and most transparent in our history,” Dr. Ceceko said. “The outcome, upheld by the Supreme Court, is a true representation of the will of Nigerians, and it is time for all participants to accept the results and move forward.”

The coalition expressed disappointment with Obi’s critique of the electoral process, accusing him of undermining the country’s institutions, including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Supreme Court.

“It is quite unfortunate that Mr. Peter Obi would discredit our institutions like INEC and the Supreme Court, which validated the credible elections conducted by INEC,” the spokesman said.

Ceceko noted that if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was as problematic as some politicians have claimed, it raises the question of why there are calls from various quarters for the State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) to be disbanded and for INEC to conduct local government elections instead. Local government elections administered by SIECs are often fraught with irregularities and manipulation, according to these advocates.

“It is evident that the political elite who frequently malign the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are often the same ones who oversee the worst elections in the country through the State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs)”.

The coalition also challenged Obi’s comparison of the Nigerian electoral process to that of South Africa, noting that the South African elections were not without their own challenges and technical glitches, including 579 petitions with 20 political parties rejecting the result as widely reported by international media outlets.

“We really need Mr. Peter Obi to do his due diligence and research before comparing INEC to other countries’ electoral bodies,” Dr. Ceceko said. “The South African election also experienced technical glitches, which were well-documented.”

The coalition urged Nigerians to respect their institutions and work together to improve the electoral process, rather than disparaging them.

“It is hypocritical of Mr. Peter Obi to claim that the election which brought Governor Alex Otti of Abia was credible and transparent, while asserting that the election he lost was marred by irregularities. It is worth noting that both elections were conducted by the same INEC under the leadership of Prof. Mahmud Yakubu”.

“Furthermore, it is important to remind Mr. Peter Obi that he is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, beneficiaries of the very institutions he is currently maligning. It was the same Supreme Court that restored his allegedly stolen mandate in 2003. Additionally, it was the same INEC that conducted the election that secured his second term victory in Anambra”.

The coalition argued that technical glitches during electoral processes are normal occurrences worldwide, and that such issues do not necessarily invalidate the outcome as a reflection of the will of the people.

“Because there was a technical glitch on the portal of the South African commission, does that invalidate the outcome of the election in which the ruling ANC won?” the spokesperson questioned. “I think it is about time we start respecting our institutions and join hands with other Nigerians to make them work and even better”, the statement concluded.

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