Stop overheating polity via social media, CSO cautions PDP, LP members, supporters
People Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) members and supporters have been warned against weaponising social media to overheat the polity. They are also advised to refrain from canvassing issues raised in their complaints at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC).
A civil society organisation (CSO), Nigerian Youth Network For Good Governance and Sustainable Democracy, in a statement by chairman of its Board of Trustees (BoT), Constantine Ikechukwu, regretted that while the opposition parties were proving their cases at the tribunal, some of their supporters are casting aspersion on integrity of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
The group said it is uncivil and undemocratic for members of the opposition parties to be “employing both conventional and unorthodox means to prove that the 2023 presidential election was rigged.”
Ikechukwu said: “Both parties have filed their petitions at the tribunal, which is currently sitting. One would have expected that as law-abiding citizens seeking to truly serve the country, the presidential candidates of the LP, PDP and their supporters would refrain from canvassing issues raised in their petitions outside the tribunal. Unfortunately, the petitioners, their lawyers and supporters have continued to make disparaging remarks about the outcome of the election in public.
“In fact, their lawyers, who are learned silks, have continued to make unsavory comments to the media about the outcome of the election, which they are challenging. Besides, LP supporters, referred to as “Obidients” have turned the social media, especially Twitter, to a battleground, where they abuse, curse and denigrate anybody, no matter how highly placed, that disagrees with their position. Supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have sadly joined them in this spectacle of shame.”
The group said it is worrisome that some foreign observers and indigenous CSOs have also been making subjective and unsubstantiated comments about the poll, even when none of them observed up to half of the 176,606 polling units where the election took place. Everything is beginning to look like a playbook.
It noted: “The other day, the disunited Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room released a politically-motivated report on the election, with the convener, Ene Obi, asking the INEC Chairman to apologise to Nigerians. A position, which other three members of body, openly contested.
“Interestingly, while the self-contradictory report applauded INEC’s preparations for the polls and acknowledged the immense security and extraneous challenges it faced, the group wrongly blamed the commission for political violence, acrimonious, monetised primaries and bitter campaigns which are outside the electoral umpire’s control.
“Also recently, Olisa Agbakoba, (SAN), in a tweet, congratulated President Bola Tinubu on winning the election, but asked the President to sack the INEC Chairman that conducted the election. We consider his position as self-contradictory, dishonest and patronising. You cannot congratulate a man on winning an election and then ask him to sack the person that conducted the poll.”
The organisation condemned the alleged disregard for rule of law by the opposition parties and supporters via uncomplimentary remarks
Ikechukwu continued: “We regard the blitzkrieg method employed by the LP and PDP lawyers to use the media to convict INEC in the arena of public opinion as a disservice to the rule of law and legal profession. We also strongly condemn the blatant threats being made by LP, PDP, their lawyers and supporters against justices of the tribunal hearing their petitions, to either give a judgment favourable to them or be damned.
“We also view the incessant virulent attacks on INEC and its Chairman as condescending, emotive, subjective and irrational. While we agree that the 2023 presidential election was not perfect, there is no concrete evidence to show that the INEC Chairman rigged the exercise in favour of the APC, as alleged or broke any electoral law.
“After a careful study of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act 2022, we are convinced that, in declaring Bola Tinubu as President-elect at the national collation centre, Prof. Yakubu only performed his statutory role and did not break any known law.”
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