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Elections: Abuja protesters back INEC, warn against insurrection

Hundreds of protesters under the aegis of The Natives on Monday warned politicians to avoid setting the country on fire with their incendiary statements and random call for an interim government. 

The demonstration, which took place in front of the National headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Abuja, caused a mild gridlock.

While displaying chanting solidarity songs and displaying various banners, the protesters stated that it would be insensitive of critics of the last presidential election to call on foreign missions including the United States and the United Kingdom to support them in promoting insurrection in a sovereign state like Nigeria.

Addressing newsmen in the presence of INEC officials after the peace walk, the Coordinator of The Natives, Smart Edwards, urged the commission to stand firm against intimidation and blackmail from people he described as “bad losers.”

This is even as he cautioned Labour Party Vice Presidential candidate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, against making inflammatory statements that could further divide the country. 

He said, “We have come to INEC to affirm that elections were conducted and APC, PDP, NNPP, LP and other political parties went into the contest. Some people have been going around the country inciting other people, calling for a taboo, they are calling for Interim National Government that will never happen, not in Nigeria, not in any African country that we support.

“America is currently handling insurrection against her state, so we are certain that America, United Kingdom and other Nations will not promote insurrection in our Nation Nigeria. We want to tell you (INEC) that people have the rights to protest, whosoever they are, they are citizens with such rights, but they do not have the right to provoke the voters.

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“It is taboo for anybody under any influence of alcohol or any other substance to rise and call for Interim Government in this Nation when we still have INEC intact.

“We want to particularly warn the LP vice presidential candidate, Yusuf Datti-Ahmed, to apply caution because Nigeria is a country and not The Base University.

“I want to affirm that Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kashim Shettima’s tickets scored the highest votes as informed to everyone at the National Collation Centre. The votes were counted in Eight million plus, and was declared winner, having won about 29 states.”

Continuing, Edwards said the race for the contest of the National Assembly leadership has started and leading parties including the LP and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party have already started strategising.

“Our message is very clear, this is one indivisible country and it benefits nobody that the country goes into flame. We have said that elections had been won and lost, but in this presidential election, Bola Ahmed Tinubu won clearly. 

“He (Tinubu) has called for healing and because he has called for healing we as Natives, people who voted for him have listened to his message.

“That’s why we are here waving our white handkerchiefs which signify healing. Bola Ahmed Tinubu is already preparing for the May 29th handing-over ceremony and because we are all brothers and sisters we know and believe that we can all work together to change our country. 

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Receiving the delegation and a prepared letter addressed to the INEC chairman, the commission’s Director of Security, Lebari Sam Nduh, assured the protesters that the electoral umpire will continue to perform its constitutional role without bias or favour.

“We want to thank you for being very responsible in your protest. We want to thank you for bearing in mind that we have no other country to call our own than this country. We want to thank you for the civil manner you have conducted yourself.

“We want to assure you, on behalf of the management of INEC that your message will be delivered to the Chairman. It is not going to pass through any other source than the Director of Security himself will personally take it and deliver it to the Honourable Chairman who is my direct boss. 

“I assure you that INEC will continue to do its optimum best all that the law asks it to do, that Nigeria will be greater,” he said.


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