The Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, has said any electoral victory obtained through means other than the legitimate votes of the people was nothing short of a coup d’état.
Tambuwal said the Edo State Governorship Election scheduled to hold on Saturday as well as the Ondo State governorship election scheduled for October 10, were test cases of our preparedness for a rule-based and consent-enabled governance.
He said this in a statement titled “Tambuwal: Rigging is coup d’état,” which he signed and issued to commemorate the 2020 edition of United Nations International Day of Democracy, on Tuesday.
The United Nations General Assembly in 2017 resolved to observe 15 September of every year as the International Day of Democracy — with the purpose of promoting and upholding the principles of democracy—and invited all member states and organizations to commemorate the day in an appropriate manner that contributes to raising public awareness.
Tambuwal who is also the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors Forum said “It has become imperative to rethink the role of not just the electoral umpire, but also the activities of various security agencies in our electrical process in such a manner as to instill in them the culture of inflexible support for democracy and its practice.
“Any electoral victory obtained other than through the legitimate votes of the people is nothing short of a coup d’etat.”
While quoting the preamble of the UN resolution to buttress his point, the governor said “…while democracies share common features, there is no single model of democracy and that democracy does not belong to any country or region… democracy is a universal value based on the freely-expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of life.”
He said to mark this day in Nigeria, it was important to note that the struggle for Democracy has involved sweat, blood, diplomacy, compromises, and negotiations. This had traversed the whole period of pre- and post-independence struggle, the First, Second, Third Republics. And our current experiment since 1999.
The former Speaker of the House of Representatives also noted that “In our contemporary Nigeria, many young people who did not participate in the various struggles may not understand the intensity of the price paid by our forebears.
“It is with this in mind that I wish to flag various dangers lurking around and threatening to derail our present Democratic experiment.
“The strengthening of our electoral infrastructure has become very urgent, if we are to restore the hope and aspiration of Nigerians that democracy still counts.
“Indeed the upcoming Gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo States is a test case of our preparedness for a rule-based and consent-enabled governance.”
He stressed that that governmental authority must be obtained only through the will of the people.
The governor appealed to the National Assembly to immediately conclude the long-overdue amendments to the Electoral Act to entrench provisions that make it impossible for rigging and manipulation of elections taking into cognisance our recent experiences.
While making a case for electronic voting, Tambuwal said provisions should be made for a test run before the 2023 general elections.
In a veiled reference to the failures of the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari, he said “It bears repeating to say that good governance anchored on a sound economy and corrupt free progressive social, cultural, and infrastructural development is a sine qua non for sustainable democracy.”