The 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections conducted on Saturday and Sunday February 25/26th have generated mixed reactions across the country and beyond. Several complaints on the conduct of the polls and its aftermath capable of undermining the credibility and integrity of the electoral process have been raised by political parties, the electorate and international observers.
The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) wishes to salute Nigerians, especially the teeming youth population for their patience while exercising their franchise. It is gratifying to see committed Nigerians demonstrate abiding faith in the country by voting for their choice at the polls.
We recognise the right of aggrieved political parties and citizens to criticise the process and procedure adopted for the electoral process. However, as grievous as the complaints on the conduct of the poll and its outcome could be, we appeal for calm from all aggrieved parties on the need to protect democracy.
The next few days are very crucial to the survival of our democracy especially as the second phase of the 2023 elections which is the governorship and state constituencies election are expected to take place on March 11. Therefore, calls suggesting truncation of democracy or resort to underhand tactics to derail it are unhelpful, counterproductive and should be discouraged.
We caution political leaders, candidates and political parties to refrain from inflammatory utterances capable of igniting chaos in the country. We urge them to rein in their supporters from hate speeches, deliberate misinformation, fake news and propaganda meant to whip up base sentiments especially along our fragile tribal fault lines and potentially destabilise the country
As democrats, we encourage all aggrieved parties convinced on the violation of extant laws governing the conduct of elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to follow the laid down procedures and protocols for redress as stipulated in the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act to seek justice.
We implore the INEC to take urgent steps to resolve complaints against its processes especially the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Election Result Viewing portal (IReV) before the March 11 elections to restore the confidence of Nigerians in the electoral system.
The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) task President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector General of Police, to ensure adequate protection for all voters in subsequent elections.
Nigeria’s democracy has come to stay and we must all collectively work towards ensuring that nothing imperils it.