African leaders have been advised by Nigeria’s major opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to abstain from the country’s impending inauguration ceremony, which will see President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu take the oath of office.
Speaking exclusively to the Daily Statesman, the spokesperson for PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, Otunba Segun Showunmi, said it is time African leaders put aside the familiarity among themselves, and not partake in what he described as an “embarrassing democratic heist.”
“We would advise a lot of African countries to reconsider attending the upcoming inaugural ceremony. They will be invariably lending themselves to a very embarrassing democratic heist. Our recommendation is that African leaders must show more than a passing interest in using their attitude, conduct, and utterances. One of the things they could do is boycott the inauguration not because they want to be involved in our issue but because they want the court to adjudicate,” he said.
Referring to a similar situation during South Africa’s Apartheid, he noted that “in South Africa, if some African leaders did not use their boycott, staying away, reprimand, to say this is not right; then probably everybody would have just clapped and said Kumbaya to those who are doing the wrong thing.”
“Of course, it is his (President Nana Akufo-Addo’s) decision and the decision of Ghana to attend the ceremony, but our recommendation as the main opposition party, the PDP of Nigeria, which has a very strong and good relationship with Ghana would be when in doubt, leave it out. And in this particular situation, we recommend that they don’t come,” he stressed.
Responding to whether the court battle had inured to the benefit of other political parties, Otunba Showunmi said that although the flawed electoral process paved the way for parties to claim victory, the PDP is convinced that it won the presidential election.
“Without getting involved in the merit and demerit of the case, we are very convinced that we won. Because the process was flawed, it has created room for every other person to claim that they won and that’s part of the reason we say African and world leaders should boycott,” he indicated.
“Elections are procedural selection process that guarantee the integrity of the citizens, picking who will be their representative. If comes to an end, that a greater percentage of the people in the country do not believe that a fair process has trolled up the President-select, then the least that African leaders can do is stay away for now,” he said.
“If the court rules that he is right, then they can congratulate him. Knowing fully well that it will serve as a strong signal that when another election comes, African leaders are not going to play the ostrich by pretending the issues do not concern them. It will form a basis for Ghana and other African countries to clean up democracy,” he emphasised.