By Chibuzo Ukaibe Abuja
Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum, Governor, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, declared that any electoral victory in the Edo and Ondo governorship elections, obtained through rigging, amounts to a coup d’etat.
He also called on the National Assembly to immediately conclude the long overdue amendments to the Electoral Act to entrench provisions that make it impossible for rigging and manipulation of elections.
The Sokoto State governor spoke against the backdrop of the commemoration of International Day of Democracy marked on
15 September of every year by the United Nation since 2007.
The UN had set aside the day for the purpose of promoting and upholding the principles of democracy while inviting all member states and organisations to commemorate the day in an appropriate manner that contributes to raising public awareness.
But in its statement yesterday Tambuwal noted that strenghtening of Nigerians electoral infrastructure has become very urgent, if the country is to restore the hope and aspiration of Nigerians that democracy still counts.
“Indeed the upcoming Gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo States is a test case of our preparedness for a rule based and consent enabled governance.
“It has become imperative to rethink the role of not just the electoral umpire, but also the activities of various security agencies in our electrical process in such a manner as to instil in them the culture of inflexible support for democracy and its practice.
“Any electoral victory obtained other than through the legitimate votes of the people is nothing short of a COUP D’ETAT.
“It completely violates our Constitution which envisaged that governmental authority must be obtained only through the will of the people.”
He therefore called on the National Assembly to immediately conclude the long overdue amendments to the Electoral Act to entrench provisions that make it impossible for rigging and manipulation of elections.
“In the same vein, any further amendments to the Constitution must take cognisance of our experiences in previous elections.
“It may be that time has come to introduce aspects of technology in our elections that are fool proof and such should be test run with other elections before the general elections in 2023.
“Finally, it bears repeating to say that good governance anchored on a sound economy and corrupt free progressive social, cultural, and infrastructural development is a sine qua non for sustainable democracy.
“It behoves on us all , particularly the political and economic actors on stage to do our utmost to ensure a stable Nigeria.
“Finally, I call on the Civil Society and the Press to continue to play its watchdog role of keeping government in check in order to ensure the survival of our Democracy.”
He added that to mark this day in Nigeria, it is important to note that the struggle for Democracy has involved sweat, blood, diplomacy, compromises and negotiations.
“This had traversed the whole period of pre and post independence struggle, the First, Second, Third Republics. And our current experiment since 1999.
“In our contemporary Nigeria, many young people who did not participate in the various struggles may not understand the intensity of the price paid by our forebears. It is with this in mind that I wish to flag various dangers lurking around and threatening to derail our present Democratic experiment,” he said.