For the second time in two days yesterday, fresh protests rocked the nation’s capital, Abuja, over the just concluded elections, with protesters kicking against the May 29 inauguration of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Like they did on Wednesday, the protesters demanded the invocation of an Interim National Government, ING, to conduct a fresh election.
Asking Presidential Muhammadu Buhari to put the ING in place before he leaves office on May 29, the angry Nigerians, who protested under the aegis of National Youth League for the Defence of Democracy, NYLDD, also demanded the immediate sack and arrest of the chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, by the Department of State Services,DSS.
Armed with placards with different inscriptions, they also asked several foreign embassies in Nigeria to immediately revoke the visas of 15 INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs.
The RECs they wanted sanctioned include those of Lagos, Rivers, Borno, Zamfara, Niger, Jigawa, Kano, Imo, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Ogun, Oyo, Cross River, Katsina and Edo states.
Addressing journalists at the Unity Fountain where the protest took off en route the appeal court, one of the leaders of the group, Dr Moses Paul, said the interim government was expected to appoint a new INEC chairman who would conduct a fresh election that should produce a befitting president for Nigeria.
He said, “We are citizens of Nigeria, lovers of Nigeria, standing on the path of our constitution and citizens’ rights. We are here particularly to address the greatest crime that has happened in the history of the world and in Nigeria.
“People were burnt in Kano, people were shot in Rivers, we have seen the greatest inhumanity happen in Lagos State in the course of this election.
“Two demands we are making are: we are asking the President of this country to immediately arrest and prosecute the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who has committed the greatest fraud in the history of humanity. We need him arrested and prosecuted.
“Our number two demand is that we are asking that an interim government be put in place. We are saying that, because we do not want President Muhammadu Buhari to continue, his tenure is ending, so as a father he should put in place an interim government that will now appoint another INEC chairman who will conduct a free and credible election and produce a befitting president for our country.”
Asked to provide other options if the two demands were not met, one of the co-conveners, Anngu Orngu, said they were harmless Nigerians who would use every other civil and lawful means to make sure the demands put forward were met.
“We are here as frustrated Nigerians and the fundamental rights of Nigerians have been trampled upon by Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC and we are here calling for his immediate resignation. We have also requested that DSS should arrest him, and he should be prosecuted by the EFCC.
“We have been to the US Embassy, we have been to the British Council in Nigeria, and we have also submitted a letter to the French Embassy, calling on them to advise the Nigerian government that Nigerian people are not happy.”
In one of the letters made available to journalists and addressed to the United States Embassy, the protesters called for sanctions against the INEC chairman.
The letter read: “The conduct of the elections is in substantial non-compliance with the extant legal framework.
“These criminal actions of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu have led to the dampening of the revived spirit of youths who in anticipation of a country that works for all, turned out in their large numbers to vote, some for the first time in their lives, for their preferred candidates, only to be greeted with violence and subversion of their collective will.
“Based on the foregoing, we pray your good offices to, among others, appropriate sanctions, withdraw the visas of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, all the Resident Electoral Commissioners of states where these infractions were prevalent, particularly the RECs of Lagos, Rivers, Borno, Zamfara, Niger, Jigawa, Kano, Imo, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Ogun, Oyo, parts of Cross River, parts of Katsina and Edo states.”