A factional leader of the Pan-African Yoruba group, Afenifere, Ayo Adebanjo said he has evidence that Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari rigged his re-election in February.
“I maintain my stand that until the Supreme Court rules that he is validly elected, I will not recognise him. We have evidence that the election was rigged, let the court decide otherwise. That is all I am saying,” Adebanjo said in reaction to the call for his arrest for treason by National Democratic Front (NDF).
Adebanjo had, in February, described the 2019 presidential election ‘as a joke’. He insisted he will not recognise Buhari, who was declared the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as president.
“Right now, Buhari is the president declared by INEC and not the person that won the election, and the constitution says if you are not satisfied by that declaration, go to the tribunal,” Adebanjo said.
The Adebanjo-led faction of Afenifere did not support Buhari’s election for the second term during the campaigns. Instead, his Afenifere group endorsed Atiku Abubakar of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to unseat Buhari after the election.
But Buhari was declared the winner of the election. He polled 15, 191, 847 votes while Abubakar, a former Nigerian vice president between 1999 and 2007, got 11, 262, 978 votes.
Unsatisfied with the election result, Atiku, who alleged the election was rigged is currently challenging the presidential election result at the Election Tribunal.
While the tribunal is still hearing the case, Adebanjo said Buhari would only be clear of the election rigging allegations if he is declared as the winner by the Supreme Court.
“I will only recognise him if the court rules that he is the rightful winner. That is my position and if it is an offence to follow what the constitution says, then I am ready to go to prison,” Adebanjo said.
Adebanjo believes his utterance is not a treasonable offence. “By my pronouncement, I have not said anything illegal or unconstitutional.”