WINNERS and losers in the February 25 presidential and National Assembly polls got a piece of advice yesterday from a youth empowerment organisation – I Am Change – they should collaborate to build a stable, prosperous country.
Its founder Hafsatu Shinkafi urged Nigerians to avoid statements or conducts that could aggravate the charged political situation.
Shinkafi, in a statement titled “2023 elections: matters arising and a call for calm”, urged for restraint and calm, adding that all aggrieved politicians should approach the courts for the resolution of their disputes.
Urging the judiciary to be fair and electoral winners to be magnanimous in victory, she noted that the entire political process is about the country’s stability and economic advancement.
She said: “The long-awaited Nigerian presidential election conducted on the 25th February 2023 has come to an end.
“As with all electoral, and indeed every political and democratic process, this election has ushered in varied perspectives, opinions and dispositions among Nigerians.
“You may recall that I Am Change organised a pre-election conference entitled 2023 Elections: Citizens’ Pre-Election Awareness and the Role of Stakeholders in Post-Election Stability on 26th January 2023, where major stakeholders, including INEC, Civil Society, Judiciary, the Media, Politicians and Security experts discussed extensively, the preparations, sociopolitical atmosphere and post-election issues.”
She noted that from the discussions at the conference, it was widely agreed that INEC was sufficiently prepared for the elections, while the security agencies did not shy away from indicating their readiness to protect Nigerians during and after the elections.
Shinkafi said: “As pointed out by legal experts, it was very likely that electoral results would end up being debated in the courtrooms, making the judiciary the final arbiters in the whole process.
“The electoral processes were largely peaceful, thanks to the gallant security agencies, despite a number of protests that followed the announcement of the results.
“The conduct of the aggrieved politicians has also been commendable as they have shown their intention to seek redress at the courts instead of resorting to violence. This is equally commendable in a democracy.”
She commended the President-elect Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party for extending an olive branch to the opposition parties in the interest of national unity.
Shinkafi said: “The news that the winning party has sought the cooperation of the opposition parties in an attempt to form a government of national unity and give the country a common political cause is deeply thoughtful and an important step towards healing the wounds, advancing national cohesion and promoting political progress of the country.
“Given the charged political situation, we deem it fit to call on all Nigerians to exercise restraint and stay calm, and all aggrieved politicians to approach the courts and not take the laws into their hands.
“The judicial system, empowered by the 2022 Electoral Act is well positioned to ensure justice and fairness to all Nigerians. We call on the judiciary to not compromise the system and to allow the law to take its natural course.
“Finally, we advise those who won to be magnanimous in victory and to all those who lost to accept their fate and support the winners to build our country. The whole process is about the stability and prosperity of Nigeria.”
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