Pat Utomi, the convener of Big Tent for the Obi/Datti Presidential Ticket, has criticised the U.S., UK, other countries and international election observers for not doing enough to stop corrupt Nigerian politicians from manipulating elections.
Mr Utomi stated this on Thursday in Lagos at a news conference. He said the call became necessary following his observations on the activities of some foreign election observers in Nigeria in past presidential elections.
He accused some of them of unwittingly suppressing democracy in Nigeria as their role had an inoculation effect on the rights of citizens to elect the candidates they wanted to lead them.
“Their palliative call for calm when the rage of the cheated wells up is the reason Nigerian lies prostrate. I am beginning to take exception to some election observers being a whitewash on abuse by those who are bent on abusing elections,” Mr Utomi said.
He noted that foreign missions in Nigeria know the Nigerian politicians who had invested much in violence, voter intimidation and suppression, including manipulating voter registers to disenfranchise voters, just as they also know the corrupt politicians who bought votes.
“The missions also know politicians who use stolen public funds to block access for citizens,” added Mr Utomi.
He urged all missions and observers in Nigeria in the forthcoming elections to remain upright and ensure they stand on the side of truth and fairness and speak up on their observations.
“The currency of the centre-periphery thesis of international political economy may have run out decades back, but Nigeria’s challenges prove its validity and veracity,” the political economist explained.
Mr Utomi also called for establishing an ‘International Crimes Court’ where politicians who rigged elections and those who intimidated and suppressed voters during elections would be tried and punished accordingly.
He called on Nigerians to go out en masse on Saturday to change history by replicating what happened in Kano between Rabiu Kwankwaso and Ibrahim Shekarau.
“Shekarau as a teacher, challenged Kwankwaso, who was a sitting governor with all the state powers, but the will of the people of Kano prevailed at the end, and Shekarau was declared winner because they voted and guarded their votes to ensure that nobody stole it,” Mr Utomi noted. “These young people who rose up must now know that their future is in their hands and not in these fancy arrangements which only mortgage their future.”