- In summary, Bruce Del Valle, General Counsel for Nadeco, delivered a speech calling for transparency and truth in the Nigerian 2023 election.
- However, he also pointed out that Nigeria is currently facing significant challenges, including widespread poverty and a fundamentally flawed election process.
- Nadeco is calling on the Nigerian government to prove the transparency and veracity of the election results, and for the international community to support the Nigerian judiciary in condemning and setting aside the results if they are found to be fraudulent.
The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) has taken a firm stance on the controversial 2023 Nigerian presidential election, calling for transparency and truth in the process. In a recent address, Bruce Del Valle, General Counsel for NADECO, highlighted the fundamental flaws in the election, citing evidence of vote rigging, bribery, and widespread corruption.
Del Valle pointed out that Nigeria, with its long history of democracy and guarantees for individual freedom and due process, should be treated as a favored ally of the United States and the West. Despite being the wealthiest nation in Africa, Nigeria has the largest number of people living below the poverty line, and its citizens are subjected to human rights violations on a daily basis.
NADECO is calling on the Nigerian people to demand proof of the veracity of the election results, and for the international community to join forces with the Nigerian judiciary in condemning and setting aside the hasty announcement of the results. The continuation of power by the ruling party without proof of a lawful election is a wholesale disenfranchisement of the Nigerian people and cannot be allowed to stand.
NADECO’s stand is a call to action to address INEC’s duplicity and to ensure that democracy can thrive in Nigeria. It is time to preserve and sanctify the will of the people, and to hold it with the most solemn regard. The world must not turn its back on Nigeria, and NADECO is leading the charge to ensure that the truth is told and that the next steps can be taken.
The National Press Club: NADECO Speaks On 2023 Nigerian Election Crisis
At a recent press conference held at The National Press Club in Washington D.C., Lloyd Ukwu, Executive Director, and W. Bruce DelValle, Esq., General Counsel, spoke on behalf of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) and the people of Nigeria about the 2023 Nigerian Election Crisis.
During the conference, Ukwu gave a brief overview of NADECO, Nigeria’s Premier and foremost pro-democracy group, which was initially registered in Nigeria in 1994 by a group of very prominent politicians and pro-democracy campaigners who needed a platform to fight the military regime of the infamous dictator General Sani Abacha. He explained that NADECO was formed to fight for the return of democracy in Nigeria after Abacha took power through a military coup in November 1993 and failed to deliver on his promises to hold elections and return Nigeria to democracy, as was its right since obtaining freedom from British colonial rule on October 1, 1960.
DelValle spoke about the recent presidential election in Nigeria and the issues that arose from it, which has led to a crisis. He emphasized that there were significant irregularities during the election process and that the results of the election were not credible. He also noted that the crisis that has arisen from the election has the potential to destabilize Nigeria, which could have negative consequences for the entire West African region.
The NADECO representatives concluded their remarks by stating that they will continue to work to ensure that democracy is upheld in Nigeria and that the will of the Nigerian people is respected. They also urged the international community to support their efforts to address the crisis and ensure that Nigeria remains a stable and democratic country.
Below is a transcript of their remarks:
Members of Nadeko here present, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, gentlemen of the press, I bring you greetings on behalf of Nadeko and the people of Nigeria. Welcome to the first of a series of events planned over the next several weeks regarding the recently held presidential election in Nigeria.
For those who are not quite familiar with Nadeko, let me give you a little bit about the group. The National Democratic Coalition, for short Nadeko, is Nigeria’s premier and foremost pro-democracy group based here in Washington DC. It was initially registered in Nigeria in 1994 by a group of very prominent politicians and pro-democracy campaigners who needed a platform to fight the military regime of the infamous dictator General Sani Abacha after he took power through a military coup in November 1993 and reneged on his promises to hold elections and return Nigeria to democracy, as was its birthright since obtaining freedom from British colonial rule on October 1, 1960. A broad-based coalition transcending ethnic and religious lines was formed, which later gave birth to Nadeko in Nigeria.
No sooner had Nadeko begun a peaceful resistance against the then military leader General Sania Abacha, than he started to assassinate and jail its members. In order to save their lives, several of Nadeko members fled into exile to neighboring African countries, the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada. In 1995, those Nadeko members who fled from Nigeria got together and registered a new Nadeko in the United States. Since 1995 when Nadeko was registered here in the U.S, it has continued to push for good governance and credible elections in Nigeria.
Nadeko alleges that the election results pronounced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on February 25 through 26, 2023, are fundamentally at odds with Nigerian election laws and constitute a wholesale disenfranchisement of Nigerian voters caused by the pervasive rot of Nigeria’s increasingly kleptocratic political structure. It demands that INEC draw back its curtains to let the full light of truth prove the transparency and veracity of the 2023 electoral process.
It is without question that nearly all of the electoral reforms implemented to safeguard the 2023 Nigerian elections have been savaged by INEC and scattered to the winds of tyranny. It is beyond debate that initial investigation into the 2023 Nigerian presidential election discloses that Nigeria’s most recent election is the polar opposite of transparency, fairness, and electoral integrity. This election was polluted by blatant bribery and widespread corruption. Even INEC itself has admitted to its abject failures to comply with the requisite transparency laws mandating real-time electronic transmission of election results from the polling units to the public, instead opting to cloak the electronic resource in darkness.
Imagine with a declared, rather than proved winner, who is presently incapable of being fully embraced by the world. The INEC action clearly constitutes negligence per se and electoral fraud, as it violated the very statutory provisions and guidelines that are designed to protect against the type of fraud caused by its failure to transmit the results in real-time. The people of Nigeria are supposed to be the ones the statute is designed to protect. Instead, they have found themselves at the receiving end of the resulting gross injustice.
Nadeko maintains that the 2023 presidential election is an attempt to disenfranchise the Nigerian people through the Four Horsemen of democracy’s doom: bribery, voter intimidation, insecurity, and ballot rigging, all harnessed to secure the results of the 2023 presidential election. It calls upon the people and the Judiciary of Nigeria and the international community to join hands in a concerted effort toward global condemnation and absolute rejection of the hasty, hollow, and illegitimate results declared by INEC as
It is beyond debate that initial investigation into the 2023 Nigerian presidential election discloses that Nigeria’s most recent election is the polar opposite of transparency, fairness, and electoral integrity. This election was polluted by blatant bribery and widespread corruption. Even INEC itself has admitted to its abject failures to comply with the requisite transparency laws mandating real-time electronic transmission of election results from the polling units to the public, instead opting to cloak the electronic resource in darkness. With a declared, rather than proved, winner who is presently incapable of being fully embraced by the world, the INEC action clearly constitutes negligence per se and electoral fraud, as it violated the very statutory provisions and guidelines that are designed to protect against the type of fraud caused by its failure to transmit the results in real time. The people of Nigeria are supposed to be the ones the statute is designed to protect. Instead, they have found themselves at the receiving end of the resulting gross injustice.
Nadeco maintains that the 2023 presidential election is an attempt to disenfranchise the Nigerian people through the Four Horsemen of democracy’s doom – bribery, voter intimidation, insecurity, and voter rigging – all harnessed to secure the results of the 2023 presidential election. Nadeco calls upon the people and the judiciary of Nigeria and the international community to join hands in a concerted effort toward global condemnation and absolute rejection of the hasty, hollow, and illegitimate results declared by INEC as being contrary to the will of the people and the rule of law.
Nadeco implies that the Nigerian people and the judiciary of Nigeria, acting in concert with the international community, must join together in a concerted effort toward global condemnation and absolute rejection of the hasty, hollow, and illegitimate results declared by INEC as being contrary to the will of the people and rule of law. Nadeco demands that the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, must resign or be removed immediately.
Nadeco urgently requests that all countries worldwide, especially the United States, impose an immediate visa ban upon Professor Mahmoud Yakubu. Nadeco solemnly extorts the U.S. not to deviate from its democratic standards in Africa just because it fears competition with China and seeks to carry favor with illegitimate dictators who come to power through bribery, frauds, intimidation, and vote rigging. The U.S. should come out and condemn the apparent corruption of the electoral process and impose an immediate visa ban on those suspected to have compromised this pose. Nadeco demands that President Buhari and INEC Chairman Professor Mahmoud Yakubu should be held jointly and severally liable and accountable by the Nigerian courts and international community for what is currently happening across Nigeria in the days following the 2023 elections and for what would happen in the next few weeks or months should INEC’s noxious banquet be forced down Nigeria’s throats.
These are the positions that Nadeco would like to put out there for the international community. People in Nigeria are going to court, but we are appealing to the court of public opinion to see what happened in Nigeria. We are basically challenging the process because the very law and electoral act that was put in place to guide against what happened was broken. So, the Nigerian people and international community would like to know why that was the case because once that was broken, it means the protection that the electoral act provided for Nigerians was gone.
Thank you so much. We are going to call on a human rights activist and lawyer who observed the election in Nigeria. He just came back a couple of days ago. He is Emmanuel Ogebe, the coordinator of ADEMO (Democratic Election Monitoring Observers). He is going to come out here to address us, and then after that, we Nadeco also demands that the Nigerian government take urgent steps to address the grievances of the Nigerian people and to take immediate action to restore their faith in the electoral process. The people of Nigeria have spoken, and their voices must be heard. Nadeco calls upon the international community to stand with the Nigerian people in this fight for democracy, justice, and the rule of law. We thank you all for your attention and we will now take questions.
“Please good afternoon gentlemen, and thank you very much for coming out today. As he mentioned, I am with the Diaspora Election Monitoring Observatory, and we were participant observers in the election that just held in Nigeria, or should I clarify, the sham elections that just held in Nigeria. I want to point out that as a participant observer, I traveled to my home state to participate in the elections, and the BIVAS technology refused to accredit me. So, I experienced this disenfranchisement right there and then. I know that at least half a dozen of my family members who voted in 2019 were unable to vote this time because of the cash crunch that occurred in the economy. So, there were systematic efforts to disenfranchise, intimidate or strangle voters from being able to participate.
Well, you can imagine my shock after monitoring in Benue, Plateau, and FCT and seeing thousands of Nigerians peacefully coming out to vote to see that the results were not uploaded. Now, just to show you the extent of the mischief that occurred, the results for the National Assembly elections, which are called at the same time, simultaneously with the presidential results, were able to be uploaded, but the presidential election results were not uploaded. And till this day, as we speak, the results have not even been completely uploaded. What is even shocking is that we have seen photographs of individuals, a woman in a bathroom, uploaded supposedly as results on INEX IRAF page till this day. How can you elect someone on the basis of the photograph of a woman in the bathroom?
I want to quickly mention that a lot of the international observers who were there were as disenchanted as I was. There were four African presidents, former presidents who were in Nigeria to observe the elections. There were over 144,000 observers deployed across the country, and they all were disenchanted by what they saw. I want to say that what happened in Nigeria was not election observer observation, what a crime watch! We watched a crime being perpetrated on a country of 200 million people with utter and complete impunity.
I also want to say that President Jimmy Carter has been vindicated. He went and observed elections in Nigeria many years ago, and he was so upset at the impunity and the brazen theft of the election that he vowed never to go back to Nigeria again. And as that distinguished president is in hospice care, he stands vindicated because Nigeria has refused to learn its lesson.
One of the American observers that I spoke with mentioned two things. One, he said that, “well, at least this election was better than the 2003 election.” And I said to him, “if we’re going back 20 years to compare, then we have not made any progress.” And as NADECO has pointed out, this is even 30 years. The June 12 election, which was a travesty and a brazen rape of democracy or attempted democracy, is basically happening again. The sad point is that one of our co-travelers in the efforts to restore democracy to Nigeria is now complicit in undermining democracy in Nigeria.
In 1997, when I came on exile myself after having been imprisoned by John Abacha, I had the privilege of meeting Senator Abola Tinubu in NADECO in exile in the UK. So, we have been in the trenches fighting for democracy, and it is painful for us to see what is happening, that we’re not making the progress that we think we should make.
I want to wrap up my remarks by making a couple of points. That it is not that the elections in Nigeria were handled badly, but that the rigging in Nigeria was handled badly. There was no effort, no sincere effort to conduct an election in Nigeria. What happened was an insincere effort to conduct rigging, and that is why you will see cancellations, you will see unbelievable atrocities that were done. They didn’t even make a genuine effort to hide the manipulation of the elections.
I also want to make this second point, that it isn’t that they failed to meet global standards, but that they failed to meet even their own standards. There is no way that INEC can say that the travesty that occurred was what they had promised time and time again.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I want to say that I join my voice to what NADECO has said today. The INEC chairman needs to resign for once again betraying the trust of the Nigerian people. The United States government should not dignify the travesty that has occurred by legitimizing illegitimate rulers. And most importantly, we must not fail the young Nigerians who came out in droves in the sun and put their faith in their own hands, that they wanted to rescue their country from bad leadership, only to be abused and misused in this manner.
So, I call upon the government of General Buhari, if he has any dignity, and if he has any aspirations to any legacy whatsoever, to salvage Nigeria from the travesty that has occurred in the sham elections that held. Thank you very much.”
“Thank you very much. I’m Bruce Del Valle, and I am general counsel for Nadeco, and I’m honored to be part of an illustrious group such as Adecco that has a long history of trying to do the right thing and keep democracy safe, restore democracy and restore the rule of law. And the primary question I think that should be asked, most of the people here in the audience know this, is why should we care about Nigeria? Why should the United States care about Nigeria? Why should the international community care about Nigeria?
What would you say if I told you that there was a country that has arguably the world’s oldest democracy with full participation of all of its members? What would you say if I told you that there is a country where a group of people has the oldest written Constitution featuring guarantees for individual freedom and due process in the world? What would you say if I told you there was a country that featured full participation of women in its political system, both to vote and to govern, and they started doing this when Europe was in the dark ages in the 800s? What would you say if I told you there was a country that is consistently in the top ten of oil-producing nations since the 1980s? What would you say if I told you this same country has never been openly antagonistic or antagonistic to the United States, has never been an enemy of the United States, in fact, has never been an enemy of the West? What would you say if I told you this very same country has the greatest number of doctors living in the United States of America per capita than any other nation in the world, more than England, more than Russia, more than Germany? What would you say if I told you that 29% of the immigrants from this country over the age of 25 hold a graduate degree when you compare that to 11% of the population of the United States over the age of 25 holding a graduate degree? This country has almost three times more people holding graduate degrees here in the United States contributing to our economy and our well-being and our security.
What would you say if I told you the same country has 45% of the involvement of its people, the immigrants that live here, the diaspora, in education services, and most are professors at top universities? What would you say if I told you the same country I’m talking about has they’re entering the medical fields and the technological fields in a rapidly expanding rate? They’re increasing the US economy. They are entrepreneurs. They are making America better, building tech companies in the United States to help the people back home. Would anybody be able to guess that country was in Africa? Would anybody be able to guess that country is Nigeria? Because it is. That’s Nigeria.
So when you say why Nigeria, it is almost a fool’s question. One of the greatest nations that has all of these things going for it, and yet we constantly turn our back on Nigeria. Shouldn’t we be favoring this nation? Shouldn’t we be more attentive to this nation? Shouldn’t we treat this nation, this giant of an entire continent, not of a region or an area, of an entire continent that stands out as a shining beacon, shouldn’t we treat them as especially favored allies of the United States, and indeed of the West, especially given the insecurity in the world today with issues relating to extremism and energy shortages? Don’t you think that this is a nation that the world should readily leap to the fore to protect to ensure the well-being so it can continue on its pathway to greatness? Yeah, we’re talking about Nigeria, the largest nation in Africa. It is the wealthiest
Well, we are asking that INEC throw open the curtains and let the full light of truth come in to prove the transparency and the veracity of the results they’ve announced. If the results are true, they should be able to prove it. It is absolutely not extraordinary to ask them to prove it. Show me your math. We’ve all gone to school. Show me your math. You’ve got a number. Show me how you got to that number. There can be no debate that the initial investigations indicate that they were savaged. The rules were savaged. The rights of the electorate were savaged. It was polluted by blatant and widespread corruption.
As Dr. Lloyd said, the Four Horsemen of democracy’s doom – bribery, intimidation, insecurity, and vote-ringing – appeared to trot and run roughshod all over the nation. They were harnessed to skew the results. We NADECO call upon the people of Nigeria to act peacefully but to demand that proof be provided to them that INEC proved the results they’ve announced. We also call upon the international community to join together with the Nigerian judiciary in a concerted effort to condemn and set aside the hastily announced results and instead proceed with a solemn seriousness this deserves.
Again, one of the world’s great nations is at peril here, continues to be at peril here. We need to make sure we don’t continue to turn our back on Nigeria. And what we’re asking for is very simple – prove to us proof. And NADECO says prove to us that if there is a Nigeria and there is a democracy in Nigeria, that it was arrived at lawfully and in accordance with the rule of law. The continuation of power by the ruling party is a wholesale disenfranchisement of Nigeria. Without more, that is little more than a dictatorship. And it’s a new dictatorship, but it is nonetheless a dictatorship because it’s imposed apparently against the will of the people. And we believe the will of the people of Nigeria must be preserved, it must be sanctified, and it must be held with the most solemn of regard.
This event is designed to lead a global call to action to address INEC’s duplicity and to make sure that the truth is told and that what happened is exposed, and the next steps can be taken. And I, for one, know there’s a lot of skepticism. I’ve appeared in this well a few rooms over a few years ago on the Uzodima issue, who’s involved in drafting briefs that were filed there. The Nigerian judiciary cannot always be relied on to do the right thing in elections. But I take a little bit of hope. You’ve got to be an optimist. You have to be an optimist because your faith in God and your love for your country and your love for your family. You’ve got to be an optimist.
The Nigerian judiciary showed us they have the ability to disregard what INEC says and chart their own path toward justice. Now, we may disagree with what they did with Uzodima, certainly OHANEZE did disagrees and my clients did, but they have that ability. So the Nigerian judiciary, there’s a small spark of hope. The recent ruling to free Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and to impose a substantial fine of a billion Naira for his wrongful retention, that gives you hope. I believe the Nigerian judiciary can do the right thing. But if they don’t, we also believe that the international community has a burden it’s far too long disregarded – the great Nigeria. We cannot turn our back. The will of the people of Nigeria must be preserved.
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