Nigerians trooped out in their thousands yesterday to cast their votes in the 2015 presidential and national assembly elections. They stood patiently on the queues in spite of the technical challenges. Both the European Union and the United Nations have congratulated the country for successfully conducting the exercise.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) commends Nigerian citizens for manifesting high level of patriotism by coming out en masse to exercise their franchise.
While the results of the elections are being awaited, we deem it germane to remind the candidates of their earlier pledges to accept the results of a free and fair election. We also remind them of the two peace accords to which they appended their signatures. We therefore urge them to continuously appeal to their supporters to avoid violence before and after the announcement of the results.
In this regard, MURIC charges the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to treat the results with dispatch. While there is need to be meticulous in order to avoid fatal errors, INEC is advised to avoid unnecessary delay because this is capable of generating tension.
In the same vein, we call on the Federal Government (FG) and the Nigerian security agencies to fully respect INEC’s independence. Breathing down INEC’s neck or arm-twisting it at this crucial period should not be contemplated.
We call FG’s attention to the June 12 debacle. The June 12, 1993 general election which was widely believed to have been won by Chief M. K. O. Abiola was the most peaceful, most free and most fair in the annals of Nigeria’s history. Yet the results were most criminally and callously annulled by the then military government.
We all know what followed. There was widespread civil disobedience. Sanctions were imposed on Nigeria by Western powers. Life became unbearable and we are yet to fully recover from its impact 22 years later. Nigeria must not repeat the June 12 conundrum.
MURIC therefore strongly appeals to the stakeholders to let INEC do its work without let or hindrance. General Muhammadu Buhari can become Nigeria’s greatest hero and patriot nulli secundus by accepting defeat if the ruling party wins a free and fair election.
By the same token, the incumbent President Jonathan can make history by being the first democratically elected Nigerian president to respect what Rousseau called the General Will by handing over to the opposition party which won at elections.
This will save Nigeria, nay, the West African sub-region, the African continent and the whole world a lot of time, energy and lives. We therefore appeal that INEC should be allowed to announce the true results. The winner must be humble in victory. For the sake of Nigeria, other contestants should hasten to congratulate him and follow this up by dousing tension among their followers.
MURIC reminds all the candidates to tread softly. Political power is ephemeral. Everlasting power belongs to Almighty Allah. The Glorious Qur’an affirms that to Allah alone belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth (Qur’an 3:180). He gives power to whom He wishes and He removes whoever He wishes from power; He gives honour to whom He wills and disgrace to whom He wills (Qur’an 3:26).
Finally, we advocate a transparent, smooth and peaceful transition. Annulling the results of the elections will definitely bring back the ghost of June 12. An interim national government is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional. Declaring a state of emergency, a military intervention or handing over to the military is not only anachronistic but also an open invitation to anarchy. The way forward, the path of honour, is to allow INEC to announce the true results.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)