5 March 2023. Daily Independent, Nigeria – Apart from the numerous supporters in the country who have been lamenting what they termed electoral injustice meted out to their principal, Peter Obi, the supporters who live in Europe have joined in the protest for the Labour Party Presidential candidate to reclaim his supposedly stolen mandate.
In a statement titled, “Nigeria’s Failed General Election of 2023’, and dated February 28 2023, available to Sunday Independent, The Peter Obi Support Network Diaspora (Europe), while lamenting the political situation in the country presently over the presidential election, also joined in the call for the resignation of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mamood Yakubu.
With the numerical strength of 1,042 members, the group stated that its main aim and objective is to ensure good governance in Nigeria.
Although this 2023 election is the group’s preliminary involvement in a Nigeria election, now that the INEC Chairman has declared Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the presidential election instead of its preferred candidate, Peter Obi, POSN Diaspora (Europe), which towed the line of its principal, said it will initial legal proceedings against INEC for the declaration.
In the statement signed by Dr Udeinya Onovo, Head of Strategy and Research; Dr. Ugo Nweke, Deputy Coordinator (Operations), and Comrade Princewill Urum, Global Coordinator, POSN Diaspora (Europe), it said that over several months leading up to the Nigerian general elections 2023, the Peter Obi Support Network Diaspora (Europe) had been following the preparations of the Federal Government and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC);and documenting the reassuring statements and pronouncements by the notable state actor and the electoral commission that the election would be free, fair, transparent, credible, and peaceful.
It stressed: “We recall that on September 21, 2022, the Nigerian President, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly said, ‘As President, I have set the goal that one of the enduring legacies I would like to leave is to entrench a process of free, fair and transparent, and credible elections through which Nigerians elect leaders of their choice.’
“Nigerians were repeatedly reassured about INEC’s readiness for the Nigerian general elections in 2023. During a lecture at Chatham House in London on January 17, 2023, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, declared that the their Results Viewing (IReV) portal and Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) would be used.
“He said: ‘We have worked closely with stakeholders and development partners to confront these challenges and we are satisfied with our preparations so far.’ Yakubu had previously, on November 23, 2022, when he received the Commonwealth Pre-Election Assessment Mission, reassured Nigerians: ‘The commission will upload polling unit level results and citizens will have access to those results in real-time as we upload.”
However, the Peter Obi Support Network Diaspora (Europe) stated that it appreciated the voiced commitment of the Nigerian government and the Independent National Electoral Commission to delivering a free, fair, transparent, credible, and peaceful general election 2023.
It lamented that during the recently held presidential election in 2023, which was held on February 25, there were abounding evidence of widespread irregularities and gross violation of international best electoral practice processes as recorded and archived for posterity by several mainstream media outfits, political parties, polling agents, election monitors, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), pollsters, human rights groups, and independent local/ and international observers.
It stressed: “Some of the despicable, lacerating, and totally unacceptable gross irregularities leading up to and playing out during the ‘failed’ presidential election on February 25, 2023, are highlighted below following extensive study of tonnes of photographic and video pieces of evidence gathered by a team of experts, corporate partners, election observers, the press, and investigative journalists.”
The group listed the irregularities as follows: “Very late arrival of INEC officials at many polling stations across the six geopolitical zones, though it appears worse in the southern geopolitical zones, where several election officials either turned up for election duties in the afternoon or arrived with incomplete materials.
“Omission of the Labour Party (LP) logo on the election ballot papers in several states in the southern geopolitical zones, for example, Lagos State.
“Blurred logo of political parties on ballot papers: A serious error raised by the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) presidential candidate during an interview with the Arise News on February 25, 2023.
“Large quantities of PVCs illegally dumped in bushes, drains, holes, and bins across several states (like Anambra, Rivers, Lagos) in the southern geopolitical zones.