Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
As the global condemnation trails the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to electronically transmit the results of Saturday’s presidential and national assembly elections, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has written a strongly-worded letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, warning of the dire consequences of subverting the will of the people.
Obasanjo in his letter made public, also cautioned the INEC Chairman against accepting poll results not uploaded through the INEC server directly from the polling units as stipulated by the new Electoral Act.
He said that nobody should toy with the future of Nigeria by manipulating the outcome of the elections, warning that the country might go up in flames should the will of the people be subverted.
Obasanjo urged the INEC Chairman to save Nigeria from the looming catastrophe if his hands were clean.
He also told President Buhari not to sit by the sidelines and watch helplessly as the buck stops on his table.
Below is a full text of Obasanjo’s letter obtained by Ikengaonline:
2023 NIGERIA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION – AN APPEAL FOR CAUTION AND RECTIFICATION
Nigerian Brothers and Sisters, greetings to you all. | am constrained to speak at this point.
I crave the indulgence of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Genera Muhammadu Buhari, to make this statement because I have had opportunity to keep him aware of what I know is happening and the danger looming ahead. On many occasions in the past, I have not hesitated to point out lacuna in the action of the President and his government. But as far as the election issues are concerned, the President has proved beyond reasonable doubt that he will want to leave a legacy of free, fair, transparent and credible elections.
Until last Saturday night, February 25, 2023, the good and noble plan and preparation for the elections seemed to be going well. For the Independent National Electoral (Commission (INEC), a lot of money was spent to introduce Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), and the Server for immediate transmission of results from polling units. It is no secret that INEC officials, at operational level, have been allegedly compromised to make what should have worked not to work and to revert to manual transmission of results which is manipulated and the results doctored.
The Chairman of INEC may claim ignorance but he cannot fold his hands and do nothing when he knows that election process has been corrupted and most of the results that are brought outside BVAS and Server are not true reflection of the will of Nigerians who have made their individual choices.
At this stage, we do not need wittingly or unwittingly to set this country on fire with the greed, irresponsibility and unpatriotic act or those who allegedly gave money to INEC officials for perversion and those who collected the blood money.
Let me appeal to the Chairman of INEC, if his hands are clean, to save Nigeria from the looming danger and disaster which is just waiting to happen. If the Chairman can postpone elections four days to the election, he can do everything to rectify the errors of the last two days — no BVAS, no result to be acceptable; and no upload through Server, no result to be acceptable.
Where BVAS and Servers have been manipulated or rendered inactive, such results must be declared void and inadmissible for election declaration. Chairman INEC, I have thought that you would use this opportunity to mend your reputation and character for posterity.
Your Excellency, President Buhari Muhammadu, tension is building up and please let all elections that do not pass the credibility and transparency test be cancelled and be brought back with areas where elections were disrupted for next Saturday, March 4, 2023, and BVAS and Server officials be changed.
To know which stations or polling units were manipulated, let a Committee of INEC staff and representatives of the four major political parties with the Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association look into what must be done to have hitch-free elections next Saturday.
Mr. President, may your plan and hope for leaving a legacy of free, fair, transparent and credible election be realised. Mr. President, please don’t let anybody say to you that it does not matter or it is the problem of INEC. On no account should you be seen as part of the collusion or compromise.
When the die is cast, it will be your problem and that of the nation. The Chairman of INEC may sneak out of the country or go back to his ivory tower. Your Excellency, thank you for hearing me out.
Compatriot Nigerians, please exercise patience until the wrong is righted. I strongly believe that nobody will toy with the future and fortune of Nigeria at this juncture.
Long live Nigeria in peace, security, stability and in the hope for greater future.
AS OLUSEGUN OBASANJO
February 27, 2023.