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Global community urges Nigeria’s aggrieved parties to resort to legal means to seek redress

By Edith Mutethya in Nairobi, Kenya | | Updated: 2019-02-28 21:43
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Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari receives his certificate of return in Abuja, Nigeria, on Feb 27, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

The international community has called upon the Nigeria’s aggrieved parties on the presidential election results announced on February 27, 2019, to resort to legal means to seek redress.

In a joint statement, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) said they had been drawn to the rejection of the results of the presidential election by one of the participating political parties.

They thus called on all aggrieved parties and persons to resort to legal means to seek redress, in accordance with the constitution and relevant Nigeria laws.

Abubakar Atiku of People's Democratic Party, and who was Muhammadu Buhari’s main competitor, rejected the presidential results, saying there were manifest and premeditated malpractices in many states which negated the announced results.

In a statement circulated on social media dated February 27, Atiku said the suppressed votes in his strongholds were so apparent and amateurish, that he was ashamed as a Nigerian that such could be allowed to happen.

"If I had lost in a free and fair election, I would have called the victor within seconds of my being aware of his victory to offer not just my congratulations, but my services to help unite Nigeria by being a bridge between the north and the south,” the statement read.

He said in his democratic struggles for the past three decades, he had never seen the country’s democracy so debased as it was on Saturday, February 23, 2019.

“I hereby reject the result of the February 23, 2019 sham election and will be challenging it in court,” he said.

In a statement from the British High Commission in Abuja quoting Harriett Baldwin, the minister of state for Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the UK government congratulated Buhari on securing a second term.

“The Nigerian people have demonstrated resilience and a commitment to democracy. The result declared by the Nigerian election commission is consistent with the result obtained through the civil society Parallel Vote Tabulation process. Along with our international partners, the UK believes the Nigerian people can have confidence in the result,” the statement read.

The UK government however recognized that independent Nigerian voices had expressed concerns about the conduct of the electoral process, in particular logistics and results collation, and reports of intimidation of election officials.

“We urge any party or individual who wishes to challenge the process to do so peacefully and through the appropriate legal channel. We also encourage Nigerian authorities to examine all allegations of wrongdoing carefully, and take the necessary action against individuals found responsible,” the statement read.

African leaders have also taken to their tweeter accounts to congratulate Buhari for winning a second term as the president of Nigeria.

Uhuru Kenyatta, the Kenyan president wrote, “Your victory is a clear demonstration of the trust and confidence the people of Nigeria have in your ability to lead the country to greater heights of progress.”

Kenyatta said he looks forward to continuing working closely with Buhari in consolidating mutually beneficial areas of cooperation for the greater good of the two countries.

Nana Akufo-Addo, the president of Ghana, also congratulated Buhari for his victory. “The Ghanaian people, their government and I extend warm congratulations to Muhammadu Buhari on his re-election, for a second successive term,” he wrote in his official tweeter account.

In his congratulation message, Cyril Ramaphosa the president of South Africa, said the Nigerian people should be commended both for their patience following the postponement of the election date by a week and the peaceful manner in which they conducted themselves during the election process, SABC News reported.

Ramaphosa expressed his commitment to working closely with Buhari's government to enhance the good bilateral relations which exist between South Africa and Nigeria, paying particular focus on the strengthening of economic cooperation.

Mahamadou Issoufou, the president of Niger, and Macky Sall, the president of Senegal, also called to congratulate Buhari, according to a statement send to local media houses by Femi Adesina, the special adviser to the president on media and publicity.

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