Southern and Middle Belt thought leaders, under the auspices of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), have sent a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari regarding the fraudulent nature of the February 25 presidential election.
Dangerous, according to the forum, was Buhari’s quiet in the face of charges of anomalies and corruption against the Independent National Election Commission (INEC).
In a letter released on Wednesday, the leaders of the Middle-Belt Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), and Afenifere stated that it became more troubling when President Buhari had to embark on an international trip shortly after the elections, despite the fact that there were complaints.
In the signed by the PANDEF leader, Chief Edwin Clark; Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; Dr. Pogu Bitrus, President, Middle Belt Forum; Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife – former Governor of Anambra State and Ambassador Okey Emuchay, Secretary General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, SMBLF took a jab at President Buhari’s open declaration that he will inaugurate President-
According to the leaders, the President has no authority to select who would be sworn into office on May 29, 2023, as the case is currently before the judiciary and she has no known authority to determine for the Judiciary who will prevail in the case before her.
The leaders encouraged the President to refrain from interfering with the Judiciary and to end any political crisis in Nigeria.
They stated that his statements are detrimental and disrespectful of a fair trial, as well as obnoxious to the law of the land, an obstruction of justice, and an attempt to intimidate the Lord Justices who will hear the case.
The leaders stated that the Presidency’s words should be interpreted as an indirect attempt to guide the Court’s action in the case.
The letter states, “It is hoped that Mr. President will carefully consider the problems stated herein and act accordingly, not only in the interest of Nigeria’s unity and stability, but also for the continuation of our democratic path.”
“Your Excellency, across Nigeria, voters of all ages and demographics deem the conduct and outcome of the presidential election held on February 25 to be fraudulent. Similarly, many foreign and local observers decided that the election did not live up to Nigerians’ expectations and that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not follow the Election Act of 2022 or even its own instructions in conducting the poll.
“This was despite the massive amount of tax payers’ money spent by INEC and the assurances of free, fair, and credible elections made to Nigerians and the international community by Mr. President and the Independent National Election Commission before to the polls” (INEC).
“Indeed, there is palpable tension in the country, and Nigeria would be in flames if not for the appeals for calm by well-meaning Nigerians, especially the Labour Party’s presidential candidate in the election, Mr. Peter Obi, and the majority of us, who are elders and statesmen from across the country.
“Unfortunately, it appears that Mr. President and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, do not appreciate the mood of the country, despite our pleading for peace and calm on the part of those who are dissatisfied with the conduct and outcome of the polls and waiting for the judiciary to dole out justice in the matter.”