The immediate past national legal adviser of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Rafiu Balogun has faulted the position of the Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party(PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on the just-concluded Presidential election.
Speaking with journalists in Ado-Ekiti at the weekend, Balogun, a former chairman of NBA, Ilorin branch, argued that Atiku’s verdict was at variance with local and international teams that monitored the poll.
He described the elections as credible, adding that Nigerians must appreciate the electoral umpire.
The lawyer recalled that many elections held in the past under PDP administration were not only fraught with irregularities but were upturned by the tribunals.
He cautioned opposition leaders against making incendiary comments, and to shun any act capable of throwing the nation into chaos.
The legal practitioner said the barrage of accolades coming from foreign observers and the international communities lends credence to the credibility of the poll.
Balogun, who is also a veteran on Election Petition Matters, however, urged Atiku to approach the court if he has genuine evidence of electoral infractions.
“For anyone to say that the last election was the worst in Nigeria ” s history.T hat is not correct. I think our leader should be honest whenever they are reacting to issues.W e have had elections in the past supervised by the PDP and we know how they all ended. Many of such elections were upturned by the tribunals.
“Even during the era of late President Umaru Yar’adua who was a member of PDP, he publicly acknowledged that the election that brought him in was fraught with irregularities. So, how can Atiku tell us now that the last Presidential election was the worst in Nigeria? Except Atiku and his party have other evidences. Let them bring it out and show it to the public,” he said.
Although Balogun admitted that Nigeria’s electoral system required some improvement, he said that isolated incidents of violence and ballot snatching cannot invalidate the entire process.
His words, “We must give kudos to INEC in spite of the pockets of violence. Because there must be human errors, that does NIR mean that we should score INEC low. For me, I think they have tried their best to give us this election. The INEC has been transparent enough.
“Just look at the rigour of bring results from different parts of the country to Abuja. Something that can be done electronically. All these risks are taken by INEC to ensure that the process was transparent. This is so because our law does not accommodate transmission of results electronically. That is not to say that INEC cannot do better, it can learn from its mistakes and improve upon the process in the subsequent elections.”