The Nigerian government has accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of attempting “to undermine the electoral process” and “incite violence” after he cast doubt over the veracity of Saturday’s election.
“Though masquerading as an unbiased and concerned elder statesman, former President Obasanjo is in reality a known partisan who is bent on thwarting, by subterfuge, the choice of millions of Nigerian voters,” Information Minister Lai Mohammed said.
“What is expected from a self-respecting elder statesman are words and actions that douse tension and serve as a soothing balm.”
In a statement released on Monday night, Mr Obasanjo said tension was building up in the country amid questions about whether the elections had been fair and transparent.
The 85-year-old asked President Muhammadu Buhari to “let all elections that do not pass the credibility and transparency test be cancelled”.
But Mr Mohammed countered, saying that Mr Obasanjo was not “qualified” to advise Mr Buhari. The information ministry tweeted the statement:
FG To Obasanjo: Don’t Truncate Electoral Process
The Federal Government has urged former President Olusegun Obasanjo not to truncate the #2023GeneralElections with his inciting, self-serving and provocative letter on the elections.#Thread ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/jFILufpsHa
— Fed Min of Info & Cu (@FMICNigeria) February 28, 2023
“In his time, [he] organised perhaps the worst election since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999,” the information ministry statement quoted Mr Mohammed as saying.
Mr Obasanjo had warned that the country faced “looming danger” if allegations of voter fraud were not dealt with.
Mr Mohamed accused the former leader of promoting “unverified claims” and “wild allegations picked up from the street”.
He went on to praise the electoral body, saying they had managed to act “creditably”, and pointed to preliminary reports by the regional body Ecowas’ Electoral Observation Mission and the Commonwealth Observer Group.
He added that anyone could contest the conduct of the election through the courts, but urged Nigerians to wait for the electoral commission to announce the official results.
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