By Ikenna Uwadileke
Deputy President of the Senate, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, on Friday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that his administration conducted free, fair and credible general elections in 2019.
A statement by his Special Adviser (Media), Mr Uche Anichukwu, in Abuja, said that Ekweremadu made the call at the Parliament of the United Kingdom in London.
In a lecture on “African Politics: The Dynamics and Lessons”, he urged the president to accept the outcome of the presidential election “should he and the All Progressives Congress (APC) fail to win’’.
Ekweremadu also decried sit-tight syndrome by Heads of State in Africa, describing it as a grave danger to democracy in the continent.
He said that his admonition became necessary owing to the pivotal and strategic roles Nigeria was playing in Africa.
The deputy president of the senate pointed out that for the continent to be respected by the rest of the world, Nigeria must not only lead the way but also earn the respect of the world.
“Former President Goodluck Jonathan put Nigeria on the global map as a leading democratic nation when he put in everything to ensure a free and fair election.
“He not only lost the presidential poll as an incumbent, but also willingly conceded defeat.
“In fact, he called the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari, and congratulated him even before the announcement of the final results.
“In addition, neither former President Jonathan nor the Peoples Democratic Party challenged the outcome of the election in court.
“Therefore, to whom much is given, much is also expected,’’ he said.
He added that the onus was now on Buhari “to likewise provide a level-playing ground and show uncommon statesmanship if he and his party lose the 2019 presidential election.
“That way, Africa’s biggest democracy will further entrench the culture of peaceful and smooth transfer of power from a ruling party to the opposition in both Nigeria and Africa.
“Any attempt to manipulate the 2019 elections to the advantage of self or party will not augur well for peace and democracy not only in Nigeria, but the entire continent.
“In present age of technology, I will like to see the countries of Africa deploying the latest technology in voter registration, vote counting, and announcement of results.
“We must ensure that the process is sufficiently transparent and unarguably so, such that losers will see and be convinced that they lost fairly.
“That way, election tribunals will be eliminated”.