Nursing the bruise of hope by free Nigeria Movement – Dr Mo


Today, we mourn the demise of credibility, the rape of trust, the abuse of will. Today, we stand in
the ruins of transparency, on the embalming table of inclusion, equity and accountability. Today,
we are voices, toneless, stripped of the music of choice. Today, we are Nigerians, broken, calling
on INEC to count our votes.

On the 25th of February, 2023, Nigerians trooped to their polling units with one mission, “to cast
their votes and choose their next leaders.” They qualified for this exercise by participating in the
yearlong Continuous Voter Registration which witnessed an unprecedented spike as has never
been seen in any election since 1999. Months later, they returned to collect their Permanent Voters
Cards and went home with a commitment to participate and engage with the process. The chain of
apathy was broken, tossed to the belly of oblivion. We were free, free to experience the full
potential of our Nigerianness. Our binding lines were unbroken: in ideology, they held us together;
in trust, the washed us like water; in truth, they kept us alive. We breathed the full breathe of what
being citizens should be in a progressive secular society. So, when the day finally arrived, we had
no doubt in our hearts, in the portion that always questions, truths that our votes must count. But
nothing could bolster our belief like the assurances by Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari, and
INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmoud. Recall that a little over a year ago, President
Muhammadu Buhari appended his signature to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2022. The
fanfare that greeted that appendment can well claim recognition as one of the most colourful in
our recent history due to its unbroken allegiance to the Nigerian spirit. On that day, we were neither
Igbo, Hausa nor Yoruba. We were not Efik, Tiv, or Urhobo. No, we were not Gbagyi, Kanuri or
Ijaw. On that day, we were Nigerians full of the positive energies of our land.

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I hate to announce that today in the heart of some, all this has gone to waste. You may have seen
the video of the diasporan who tore his passport. Some other Nigerians have done same to the
fabric of identity because INEC through Prof. Yakubu Mahmoud chose to silence their voice. So
I ask, “What is the value of democracy if the process that recruits its leaders consistently lacks
credibility?” Perhaps, the answer is at the International Conference Center where Prof. Yakubu
Mahmoud began, sustained and concluded collation and declaration of a candidate as winner of
the presidential election based on falsehood contravening its guidelines and the Electoral Act. It is
most disturbing that this was done in the full glare of the world. Never has our democracy been so
sorely abused by any citizen in either public or private service. Prof. Yakubu Mahmoud has raised
a bar in impunity that will cost our country many years of electoral excellence to correct. This was
not the electronic transmission he promised Nigerians and the world at Chatham House. Prof.
Yakubu Mahmoud has lied to Nigerians and abused our right of choice. We pass a vote of no
confidence and call for his immediate sack and prosecution. We cannot afford to continue the
culture of performing lawlessness without consequences. We are as strong as our laws and as tall
as our institutions. We cannot afford to descend any lower than this.

To INEC’s president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, we say, “power belongs to the people
and anyone who must wield it must qualify to receive it from the people.” This is the only way that power can be held at their behest and behalf. A turbulent wind of violence, voter suppression,
thuggery and ethnic bigotry blew you to your current status. This is alien to the character of a true
Nigerian leader and therefore makes you ineligible. We dare say that until a credible process clears
you as deserving, you are not our president – elect or president. We therefore call on President
Muhammadu Buhari whose legacy currently hangs loose to immediately initiate processes and
procedures that will bring Nigeria under the control of an interim government pending the
resolution of all litigations pertaining to the conduct of the February 25 presidential election.

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Our country needs healing. It will be counterproductive to allow a man whose victory is utterly
distrusted the opportunity of becoming the number one citizen. We cannot grow our democracy
on falsehood and suspicion. The holes in our national fabric must be woven shut. One way is to
immediately establish a Truth and Reconciliation Committee in Lagos State and other flashpoints
of voter intimidation and violence during the presidential, national assembly, governorship and
state assembly elections. This will help build trust, confidence and further ethnic cooperation
among Nigerians.

As concerned citizens, we believe that our country is destined for greatness and are hopeful that in
no distant time, our faith will nudge our dreams to reality. This is our prayer as we nurse the bruises
of hope. For though they force us to precipice, we will not curse our country or stand by those who
curse it. We will not steal from our country whatever treasures it possesses in dignity. We will
hold on to the promise of unity and faith, peace and progress.

Dr. Mo
Free Nigeria Movement

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