A Civil Society Organization, Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), has petitioned the international community including 11 powerful countries to impose strict sanctions and visa ban on the Governor of Nasarawa state, Engr. Abdullahi Sule and Professor Ishaya Tanko for their roles in the March 18 gubernatorial elections in Nasarawa state.
The CLO revealed that it has formally sent petitions to the government of the United States of America, the UK, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, China, Saudi Arabia, Australia, South Africa and the European Union through their Embassies in Nigeria to that effect.
Showing copies of the petitions to the media, the president, Mr Igho Akeregha, warned that it was time to rein in anti-democratic elements who are bent on sabotaging Nigeria’s democracy with impunity.
He claimed that since judgment was given by the Election Petitions Tribunal nullifying the return of Engineer Abdullahi Sule as governor of the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission and declaring Hon. David Ombugadu of the People’s Democratic Party as winner of the elections, the group alleged that the Governor has been making statements capable of undermining the sanctity and independence of the judiciary and capable of threatening the unity of the country.
Speaking further he stated that “A day after the election on March 19, 2023, the CLO said the Independent National Electoral Commission had promised to declare the result of the governorship poll at 9am the following day which is March 20, 2023.
“However, for inexplicable reasons, the State Returning Officer Professor Tanko Ishaya, the Vice Chancellor of University of Jos emerged five hours earlier than promised at 4am while most people were still asleep and declared APC’s Sule winner. According to Prof Ishaya, APC’s Sule polled 347,209 votes to defeat PDP’s David Ombugadu whom he claimed scored 283,016 votes.
“This was followed by days of public rage and protests as the electorates accused Prof Ishaya of manipulating the results. Nasarawa state witnessed widespread turbulence over what the electorates saw as a rape of democracy.
“Everyone had expected Ombugadu to be declared as winner since he was leading with an unassailable margin in all the 12 of the 13 local government areas announced at the time with results of only two Wards being awaited from the 13th LGA being Lafia. But while providing the breakdown for Lafia LGA, Prof. Ishaya falsely and deliberately claimed that Sule polled 107, 213 votes against Ombugadu’s 41, 494, a difference of 57,619 votes.
In the landmark judgment, the Tribunal on Monday October 2nd, 2023, dismissed the fraudulent results announced by Prof Tanko Ishaya and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for Lafia Local Government Area and declared that David Ombugadu indeed won the election.
The Tribunal ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return earlier awarded the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Abdullahi Sule, and hand same over to Ombugadu.
The group maintained that Nigeria is the biggest black democracy in the world and the most populated black nation on earth adding that the country needs the support of the international community for its democracy to survive.