The deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure his administration conducts a credible, free and fair election in 2019.
He also advised the president to be prepared to accept in good faith, the outcome of the election should he and his party, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) fail to win next year’s presidential election.
This was even as he decried the sit-tight syndrome in Africa, which he described as a grave danger to African democracies.
He gave the admonition while speaking at the parliament of the United Kingdom (UK), where he delivered a lecture titled
“African Politics: The Dynamics and Lessons.”
Drawing inspiration from the words of the former South African president, late Nelson Mandela, Ekweremadu noted that his admonition became necessary owing to the pivotal and strategic roles Nigeria is playing in Africa, insisting that for the African continent to be respected by the rest of the world, Nigeria must not only lead the way, but also earn the respect of the world.
He 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.
“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. God forbid.”
Ekweremadu admonished African leaders to respect term limits, regretting that “Many African leaders do not seem to care about the law of diminishing returns, but you can never cheat nature.”
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