Despite evidence of irregularities, I refused to challenge my defeat at Tribunal – Saraki

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Immediate past Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki has declared that he was in the best position to pontificate because despite evidence of illegal deployment of state forces and other undemocratic means in the 2019 general election, he refused to challenge his electoral defeat at the Tribunal.

Saraki, who is currently the chairman of Politiea Institute, made this statement today while delivering his speech at an event organised by the Centre for Advancement of Civil Liberties in commemoration of the 2020 International Day of Democracy.

Speaking on the theme, ‘Electoral Reforms and Democracy’, the one-time governor of Kwara State noted that he sued for calm among his angry followers, telling them to accept the result in good faith.

The former lawmaker had lost to Dr Ibrahim Yahya Oloriegbe who succeeded him as senator representing Kwara Central at the Red Chambers.

Saraki said, “I want to also quickly point out that I am eminently qualified to pontificate on this, as I can use myself as an example. I went into elections in 2019 in Kwara State, our party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and myself, lost the elections. We had our reservations on the credibility of the entire electoral process. We had good evidence of the illegal deployment of state forces and other undemocratic means to achieve the results declared by the electoral body.

“The whole country witnessed the level of desperation displayed by those who could not tolerate our guts to turn the election results against us. The utterances of the former chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, who continuously boasted about how his number one priority and objective was to win Kwara State by whatever means necessary, were well documented.

“After the result of the 2019 elections was announced, I sent out messages to my followers, despite their anger and quest to express their grievances, that they should accept the result and maintain peace. I then congratulated the winners and urged our people to support the newly elected officials. To further demonstrate good faith and gracefulness in defeat, I refused to challenge the process at the tribunal.

Saraki further said his experience has taught him to advise politicians to accept election results and demonstrate patriotism even in the face of naked provocation, asserting: “The lives of our people, the stability of our democracy and the peace of the society are more important than our personal interest or the inflated egos of the leaders.”

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