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Tension as calls for nationwide protests thicken

Reactions have continued to trail the conduct of the 2023 presidential election as Nigerians express dissatisfaction with the poll. This was the feeling at an online protest organized by the Free Nigeria
Movement. The group had made the move known at a strategic meeting on Wednesday as part of measure for further engagement with the Nigerian public most of whom may not be disposed to
participate in its physical protest. Respondents berated the 180 – day window for litigation describing it as bogus and unrealistic as the incumbent can influence the decision by the courts. They called for the conclusion of all cases before May 29 if there can be any semblance of justice
on the matter. They said Nigeria has no reason being in this quagmire describing the actions of Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu as unfortunate. They said the rush to announce a winner was inimical to
democracy and the established charter of the electoral process.

Convener of the group, Dr. Moses Paul, who moderated the session, said the group adopted the option as part of moves to innovate ways of engaging with Nigerians. He said the continued silence of most Nigerians over the conduct and outcome of the presidential poll is regrettable. “Like you may have heard, seen or read in various media reports of our protest, our movement is apolitical and without any religious or ethnic leaning. Our interest is not for any particular presidential candidate to be declared winner or sworn in on May 29 or any date for that matter, as the constitution is not insistent on May 29 as a definite date for swearing in Nigerian presidents, all
we want is for fairness and transparency to subsist.” He said Nigeria’s journey of self – discovery must not be allowed to be disrupted by the recklessness of self – serving political actors who have
bases abroad saying that the brunt of the consequence of their actions end at the doors of ordinary Nigerians. He said Nigerians must rise up and take a stand for the country. “Our situation may
seem hopeless but it isn’t. Politicians find ways to divert our focus from the main issues. We are the ones who suffer the consequences of fraud like the one Prof. Mahmoud superintended.”

Respondents called on the judiciary to ensure that it act in ways that restore the hope of all Nigerians. They said the country is earnestly waiting for the outcome of the court process. Some respondents however made emphatic calls for a mass protest to empress on the judiciary to behave responsibly. “The silence is deafening and unfortunate. We must rise up and demand justice from the judiciary. Our country needs to move on from the elections. But it must do so with zero doubt
or suspicion,” a respondent said.

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