Some Nigerians under the platform of #OccupyNigeria took over Unity Fountain, Abuja to protest the declaration of President Muhammad Buhari as winner of the just concluded presidential election. The group on Monday, March 4, condemned in its totality the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the Saturday, February 23 presidential Election.
Usman said the group in collaboration with observers who were on ground during the election observed card readers were not used at all in some states of the country.
Speaking to newsmen at the venue of the protest, Comrade Idris Usman, the convener of #OccupyNigeria, a coalition of civil society organisations and Nigerians from all walks of life said the decision made by INEC must be reversed and due process followed in ensuring that the vote of every Nigerian counts in the 2019 presidential election.
“With the #OccupyNigeria, we have over 50 civil societies under it. We’ve done a petition to INEC, for once in Nigeria, there has never been a time when decision was reversed.
“Despite that what we are saying is that this decision ( a declaration of 2019 presidential election winner by INEC) did not settle well with the people.
“Our own is simple, where card readers were not used in north, let card readers be used, anybody can win but let the proper thing be done,” Usman said. Condemning the use of military in the past election, Usman said the presence of soldiers at the polls already violates the law.
Citing the Osun gubernatorial election which took place in September 2018, Usman argued that no leader was announced until the election was concluded.
He said: “In Osun gubernatorial, no leader was announced till the process was concluded, so why was INEC in such a hurry to announce the result of the 2019 presidential election?
” He also said the protest would continue for four hours every day until Friday, March 8. According to Usman, if the electoral body fails to yield to the petitions the group would occupy the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
Also in a statement signed by Okpanachi Jacob, the co-convener of the #OccupyNigeria said the journey towards credible elections in Nigeria must not be jeopardise. Okpanachi stating that the electoral system in Nigeria is retrogressing into resignation and fatalism said INEC must open its backend servers to stakeholders in the process.
He said voting must be conducted for millions of Nigerians who were disenfranchised, the presence of military in areas of no crisis be withdrawn, fresh elections be conducted where card readers were not used and perpetrators of violence in the last election especially in the Niger Delta be brought to order.
He also called for justice against thugs who harassed voters in Lagos and urged the international community to call the ruling party to order as Nigerians will not accept a President that has not been duly elected by majority of Nigerians.