Opposition parties in Nigeria have threatened to boycott Saturday’s president election if the federal government does not dissolve the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), which the opposition describes as bias. This comes after opposition parties decried the gubernatorial and house of assembly elections, calling them fraudulent and skewed in favor of the ruling party. They are also demanding that the election results should not only be declared null and void, but also that Saturday’s presidential vote should be put on hold until their demands are met. The Abuja government rejects the opposition’s demand. Meanwhile, opposition party presidential candidates are meeting today to decide their next move.
Lai Mohammed is the spokesman for the Action Congress party. From the capital Abuja he tells the Voice of America that the opposition parties are determined not to participate in the presidential election, unless the federal government meets their demands.
“Presidential candidates of the opposition parties, about eighteen of them, including (Vice President) Atiku Abubakar, General Muhammadu Buhari, and Governor Bafarawa of Sokoto State, among others, all resolved on Tuesday not to participate in the Saturday presidential election unless certain conditions are met by the government,” he said.
Mohammed explains the opposition’s demand.
“The opposition parties are demanding, one, that the governorship and house of assembly elections of Saturday 14th of April should be void because they were marred with irregularities, intimidation, shootings and generally rigging in favor of the PDP (People’s Democratic Party). The second condition is that INEC as presently constituted cannot organize a free and fair elections and so we demand for the dissolution of INEC,” Mohammed noted.
He said the opposition parties are calling for Saturday’s presidential election to be postponed.
“Another condition which the opposition candidates put before the government is that election for the presidential elections must be put on hold until these conditions are met by the government,” he said.
Mohammed said the opposition parties want the election to be fair.
“We want a free, fair and credible election. What will go on under INEC would be simple allocation of results, allocation of votes, and there is no way that if these are not met that we are going to have any semblance of a free and fair election. And any government that is elected based on this election would lack credibility,” he pointed out.
Mohammed said the opposition parties are meeting Thursday to plan their next move.
“As a matter of fact, we have just been told that the government has rejected these conditions. The opposition candidates would be meeting later in the day to review their position,” he said.
Mohammed reiterates that Saturday’s presidential election would lack credibility without the participation of opposition presidential candidates.
“There is no way elections can be credible in Nigeria today without Atiku Abubakar participating, without General Muhammadu Buhari participating. It would an election that would be hollow and would not be credible. And any government based on that would lack legitimacy,” he said.