The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the Presidency’s decision to shift President Muhammadu Buhari’s second inauguration from May 29 to June 12 will not legitimize an allegedly “stolen mandate”.
The Buhari-led government had last year declared June 12 to be the new Democracy Day in Nigeria. Prior to the declaration, May 29 had been celebrated as the country’s Democracy Day.
The PDP is accusing Buhari and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of rigging out its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in the last presidential election held on February 23, 2019.
The opposition party, in its reaction to the shift in the date of Buhari’s second inauguration, said fixing the event on the new Democracy Day “cannot confer any form of legitimacy to the outcome of the rigged 2019 Presidential election.”
The PDP also said, “inviting world leaders to the inauguration cannot confer international recognition for a stolen mandate.”
Speaking through its national spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Tuesday, the opposition party said: “It is clear that the Buhari Presidency and the APC, being tormented by the guilt of violating our electoral processes, can no longer boldly approach the oath book on May 29, due to the burden of illegitimacy and now seeks refuge in the sanctity of June 12, our Democracy Day.
“The Buhari Presidency and the APC from our recent history have demonstrated that they totally averse to democracy. They should therefore steer clear of our Democracy Day, having violated all our democratic ethos in manipulating the Presidential elections and upturning the mandate of the people; the same injustice which Chief MKO Abiola, the symbol of June 12, fought and died for.
“Chief Abiola stood and died for democracy. Any attempt therefore to schedule any event related to the outcome of the rigged 2019 Presidential election on June 12 would be an open desecration of the sanctity of the Democracy day and a direct assault to the sensibilities of Nigerians.
“Moreover, the PDP rejects this absurd desperation by the Buhari Presidency and the APC to overshadow the import of our Democracy Day and stifle the quest by Nigerians to vent their anger against the democratic violations of the APC administration in the last four years,” it said.
The PDP further asked the Buhari Presidency “to note that trying to seize our Democracy Day cannot confer legitimacy to a rigged election, neither can it erase the litany of violations including human rights abuses, assault on democratic institutions, particularly the Legislature and the Judiciary; clamp down on opposition figures, clipping of the media, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests and illegal detention of citizens, and the rigging of the 2019 Presidential election.
“The PDP wants the Buhari Presidency and the APC to understand that what is paramount to majority of Nigerians now is the retrieval of the stolen mandate, which they freely gave to Atiku Abubakar, at the tribunal so that our nation can enjoy the values of freedom, justice, fairness and equity embedded in our constitutional democracy,” said the opposition party.