Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari against clutching on to power if he is defeated in next year’s general elections, reminding him that “to whom much is given, much is also expected”.
He advised Buhari to take a cue from his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, who lost an election but accepted it in good faith, urging Buhari to be conscious of the fact that Nigeria is playing pivotal and strategic roles in Africa.
A statement issued by his media aide, Uche Anichukwu, reports the Deputy Senate President as disclosing this at the UK parliament, where he delivered a lecture on the topic: ‘African Politics: The Dynamics and Lessons’.
Buhari is yet to publicly make known whether or not he intends to remain in office beyond 2019 but a group of governors led by Malam Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state say they are working to see that Buhari seeks re-election.
Howbeit, the President has been holding meetings with party chieftains and officials as well as getting endorsements from some APC stalwarts. However, former president Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday told the incumbent not to contemplate a second term but to honourably dismount from the horse in 2019.
Ekweremadu said, “Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan put Nigeria on the global map as a leading democratic nation when he put in everything to ensure a free and fair election, in which he not only lost the presidential poll as an incumbent, but also willingly conceded defeat.
“In fact, he called the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari, and congratulated him even before the announcement of the final results. In addition, neither former President Jonathan nor the PDP challenged the outcome of the election in court.
“Therefore, to whom much is given, much is also expected. The onus is now on President Buhari to likewise provide a level-playing ground and show uncommon statesmanship if he and his party lose the 2019 presidential election. That way, Africa’s biggest democracy will further entrench the culture of peaceful and smooth transfer of power from a ruling party to the opposition in both Nigeria and Africa.”
Ekweremadu also warned Buhari of the consequences of “manipulating” the 2019 elections, advising him to see to the conduct of a free and fair polls.
He added that African countries should harness technological advantage in the whole electoral process.
The DSP continued, “any attempt to manipulate the 2019 elections to the advantage of self or party will not augur well for peace and democracy not only in Nigeria, but the entire continent.
“Important too, in the present age of technology, I will like to see the countries of Africa deploying the latest technology in voter registration, vote counting, and announcement of results.
“We must ensure that the process is sufficiently transparent and unarguably so, such that losers will see and be convinced that they lost fairly. That way, election tribunals will be eliminated.”