Protests by aggrieved Nigerians against the declaration of Bola Tinubu as the winner of the contentious February 2023 presidential election have continued to spread across the world even as the US chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has vowed to confront protesters who have planned to stage a protest at the White House and other key areas in the country.
There have been protests against Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, over the conduct of the election and the declaration of Tinubu as winner.
Local and international observers of the February 25 election have also described it as flawed due to INEC’s refusal to follow its own guidelines.
Already, protesters have staged protests to the US embassy in Abuja, office of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS in Abuja, Rivers, Lagos, Nasarawa, Taraba, Benue, Cross River states and others, in what is snowballing into a national protest against the disputed election.
The protesters have vowed to occupy ECOWAS secretariat until their demands, which include a recount and full assessment of the votes are done.
On Friday, THE WHISTLER reports that they have occupied the ECOWAS secretariat with the youth wing of the protesters engaging the parliament.
Also, a protest broke out in Rivers State, Port Harcourt on Thursday with protesters vowing to continue to protest until their demands are met.
Protests have also been held in London, US, France and other major countries calling for outright cancelation of the election.
In the US, a notice of special protest which has been planned for April 3 at the White House by Nigerians resident in the country was shared with our Correspondent.
According to the organisers who say people’s votes must count, the US must step in and play a major role in the election even as they hail Joe Biden and the US administration for not congratulating Tinubu for being declared the winner of the election.
In the protest invitation shared with THE WHISTLER, the organisers are demanding for “a strong statement condemning the Nigerian Government, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and her agents for orchestrating a fatally flawed Presidential/Governorship and other elections in Nigeria.
“Urge INEC to obey the laws, count and respect the peoples votes as per the laws.
“Initiate wide ranging sanctions on INEC National Chairman, his family, identified corrupt INEC Leadership at National, State Levels and all who have frustrated a free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria, and their families including those who instigated violence and discrimination based on ethnicity on citizens of Nigeria,” they stated.
They stressed that Nigeria is the largest black nation on earth and the largest source of African immigrants to the United States.
“We must call the White House and Congressmen and women to intervene in the face of these human rights violations and Nigeria election malpractices,” the protest organisers added.
Already, the US authorities have granted permission to Nigerian protesters to use its park on April 3.
To use the park, the US authorities said protesters must not be more than 100 people at the iconic Lafayette Park in Washington D.C.
The permit warned that protesters must comply with all the conditions which include protesting for just four hours on the stretch.
The leader of the protest operating under the aegis of Nigerian American Coalition for Justice and Democracy Inc. Franklin Ekechukwu., who, in a memo said, they would be protesting against INEC refusal to “follow their guidelines and rule of law in accordance to democratic principles.”
He said, “We in the diaspora are demonstrating to call the attention of the US government and Biden administration to not recognise the projected winner.”
Their counterparts in the UK have also planned similar protests to be held on April 8.
In their plans, protests would be held everyday in Nigeria with the mega protest to be held at Unity Fountain, site of regular protest in the nation’s capital.
However, this has not gone down well with the US chapter of the APC as members have vowed to storm the venue of the Anti-Tinubu protests in solidarity with the former Lagos State Governor.
The Chairman of the United States chapter of the APC, Professor Tai Balofin said, “We wish to inform the public that a group of the Nigerian 2023 Presidential election losers are currently protesting at the park in front of the White House.
“It is important to note that the US government is not involved or in support of the protest, as anybody can get approval for a peaceful protest.
“It is our belief that the Nigerian presidential election was free and fair, and Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu won the election. The majority of Nigerian voters gave him their mandate, and no propaganda, manipulation or tissue of lies can stop his inauguration,” he stated in a statement issued late Thursday night.
He added that, “The APC-USA assures Nigerians not to be perturbed by the actions of the protesters. We want to assure Nigerians that Nigeria will not secede, and it will remain united. We must work together to salvage it.”
He promised that his group would meet the Anti-Tinubu protesters on ground when they arrive on April 3 at the park.
Recall INEC had declared Tinubu winner of the presidential election which has been rejected by the Labour Party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and few other political parties.
Other parties, including the Social Democratic Party, have however congratulated the winner.
INEC declared that Tinubu polled 8,794,726 votes while Atiku Abubakar of the PDP polled 6,984,520 votes.
The electoral umpire also said Peter Obi of the Labour Party polled 6,101,533 votes.