Following his decision to challenge the result of the February 23 presidential polls in court, the United Kingdom (UK) has called on the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to contest the results in a peaceful manner. It however said that it has confidence in the results released by INEC.
UK reaction: Harriett Baldwin, the UK’s Minister of State for Africa, said the result by INEC tallies with the civil society parallel vote tabulation process. “Along with our international partners, the UK believes the Nigerian people can have confidence in the result,” she said.
Backstory: INEC had on Wednesday announced the result of the 2019 presidential elections, declaring All Progressive Congress’ (APC) candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari as the winner with 15,191,847 votes. However, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar rejected the results, claiming that it wasn’t free and fair, and promised to challenge it in court.
Go ahead, the UK says: According to Baldwin, the PDP candidate was well within his rights to challenge the election results, but it needs to be done it in a way that doesn’t disrupt the lives of Nigerians through violence.
“We urge any party or individual who wishes to challenge the process to do so peacefully and through the appropriate legal channel and we encourage Nigerian authorities to examine all allegations of wrongdoing carefully, and take the necessary action against individuals found responsible,” she said.
Baldwin also sympathized with the friends and families of those who lost their lives during the electoral process, saying, “My thoughts are also with the families and friends of those who lost their lives in election-related violence. No one should die in the exercise of their democratic rights. We will continue to support Nigeria and its civil society in drawing lessons from these elections and strengthening its democracy.”
Bottom Line: This is a big boost for President Buhari. The president and his party pushed back against foreign actors making comments about the elections, but now that the UK is endorsing his win, something tells us he won’t be complaining.