The Washington Declaration

A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY

THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC COALITION (NADECO) USA

AT THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE  ON NIGERIA

ON 7-8TH MAY 2023:

HELD AT THE CAPITAL HILTON HOTEL WASHINGTON, DC USA.

THEME: NIGERIA AT THE CROSSROADS: 2023 ELECTIONS, ISSUES, & SOLUTIONS

The International Conference on Nigeria benefitted from poignant and incisive speeches by many NADECO Founding members, and other well-meaning and respected Nigerians from around the world. There were also several of our US friends and allies with long-standing ties to Nigeria and a passion for the growth of democracy in Nigeria.

Following extensive consultations with varied stakeholders including delegates from the UK, Canada, Nigeria, and the US at the recent NADECO USA Extraordinary Summit in Washington, DC, NADECO makes the following recommendations on behalf of itself and its supporters among the Nigerian people: 2023 ELECTIONS

  1. INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC)

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) brazenly violated the Electoral Act of 2022, violated its own guidelines, and lied to the Nigerian people when it promised on national television that it must transmit the election results from the polling units to the servers in real- time but failed to do so.Now, therefore be it Resolved as follows:

-NADECO calls on the Federal Government of Nigeria to immediately remove the present Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu.

-NADECO further calls on the arrest and prosecution of the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu and all the INEC officials found to have participated in the fraudulent elections.

  1. 2. THE SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA AND THE ELECTION TRIBUNALS

The Supreme Court of Nigeria is the highest court and the final arbiter of the law of the land,

The Nigerian people seem to have lost faith in the Supreme Court of Nigeria for many obvious reasons, And whereas the fate of millions of Nigeria hangs in the balance. Now, therefore be it Resolved as follows:

-The Supreme Court of Nigeria and the Election Tribunals must expeditiously and transparently consider election challenges, and in the case of the Presidency, if no final determination is reached on the results of the February 2023 election before the scheduled May 29, 2023 inauguration, then the Constitution must be followed, which provides for the Senate President to be installed as the acting President for three months to chart a legal transition of power in Nigeria. To achieve these objectives our legal panel recommended further that:

2a. Parties in the petition request and the court grant a writ of mandamus order requiring INEC to review all parties’ objections and reevaluate the election results within seven days as authorized by law which INEC failed to do, and 2b. That the tribunal’s proceedings be broadcast live given the global interest, import, and importance of the elections; In that light, we commend the commencement of tribunal hearings where all parties have pledged to expedite the process. That the Nigerian Supreme Court, the Nigerian Government, and all of its security agencies including DSS, refrain from hastily swearing in or facilitating the swearing-in of any of the 2023 Presidential Candidates until their exhaustion of all available remedies, including any appeals to a Sub-Regional, Regional, and\ or applicable international entities. This includes the ECOWAS, AU and UN entities.

Alternatively, given the widespread discontent and rejection of electoral process by Nigerians at home and abroad, the Nigeria Supreme Court is urged to rely on the “political question doctrine” to restrain itself from the polarizing nature of its decision regarding the 2023 Presidential Elections, and ORDER INEC to conduct a fresh election which complies with the requirement of the Nigerian Constitution, the 2022 Electoral Act as amended, and INEC’s own guidelines.

As part of its ORDER, the Supreme Court may include provisions for the proper assistance to INEC, including from competent foreign agencies and the Nigerian Bar Association, so as to guarantee free and fair elections.

  1. BIDEN ADMINISTRATION

Nigerians have gotten increasingly confused by the Biden administration’s policies toward the people of Nigeria.

The Biden administration continues to send conflicting and confusing signals to the Nigerian people such as the removal of Nigeria from the list of countries carrying out religious persecution. The facts are too glaring for anyone not to see the high-level state-sponsored religious persecution and oppression taking place in Nigeria yet the Biden administration has decided to keep a blind eye.

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, THAT,

The United States Government should:

3a. Withhold any recognition of an incoming Nigerian government until the Supreme Court has thoroughly and transparently examined the 2023 election process and ruled definitively on the results of the 2023 elections in the same manner as the U.S. Government did with the 2022 elections inKenya;

3b.UtilizeallcredibleevidencetoimposeMagnitskyActsanctionsattheearliestpossible time frame to punish all those found to have impeded or subverted the 2023 election process exercisingallavailablesanctionsonsuchindividuals;

3c.UtilizetheGen.Abachalootcurrentlyin asset forfeiture proceedings in US District Court to compensate victims of election violence in Nigeria,and3d.DiscloseandreleaseallavailablerecordspertainingtotheAPCpresidential candidate which are now at issue in the election petitions, to the courts for adjudication.

4.TheNigerianPeopleshall: 4a.Uniteintheiroppositiontoelectionintimidationandsubversion by peacefully demonstrating and using lawful tactics such as boycotts strike, civil disobedience and peaceful demonstrations surpassing the ENDSARS to demonstrate the extent of the nationwide resolve to refuse to accept past, present and future manipulation in all Nigerian elections – no matter whether at the national, state or local levels.

4b. Put aside partisan, ethnic, and religious divisions and work jointly in the struggle to achieve the rule of law and good governance for the good of all the people of Nigeria.

  1. NADECO USA shall:

5a Reprise and renew its historic role in being the effective advocate in the Nigerian Diaspora and the international community in championing and sustaining democracy, the rule of law, and good governanceinNigeria,

5b.Createapan-NigerianAdvisoryCounciltoadvisetheorganizationon ways to create unity among ethnic, religious, and regional groupings to promote a sense of national identity and avoid factionalism;

5c. Facilitate a youth truth corps, enabling young Nigerians to exercisetheirpassionfordemocracyandcreateaGOVERNANCE HALLOFSHAMEtodocument genuine violations of the rule of law and good governance wherever they may exist – through video and still photography, affidavits from persons involved in situations where such violations occur and legally obtained documents demonstrating such violations;

5d. Denounce violence in all formsfromanyethnic,religious,orpoliticalgroup,preferringinsteadpeacefulandlawfulmeansas describedearlier,aswellaspublicwritingsandlegalactions;

5e.MobilizetheNigerianDiasporain the United States to periodically inform American citizens and politicians at all levels about the role Nigeria plays in world affairs and the importance of a stable and prosperous Nigeria to American interests.

5f. EncourageU.S.governmentinstitutions–fromthenationalleveltothestateandlocal levels – to take actions to safeguard shared American and Nigerian security, social and economic interests,and

5g. OrganizeaglobalDiaspora-widesanctionsstrategyshouldNigeriafailtofairly, equitably, and legally resolve the 2023 presidential elections to reflect the true wishes of the electorate.

5h. NADECO should utilize its network of supporters in the United States to inform American citizens and politicians at all levels about the role Nigeria plays in world affairs and the importance of a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Nigeria to American interests.

5i. NADECO, must continue to play its part in being the effective spokesman among the Nigerian Diaspora in establishing and maintaining the rule of law and good governance in Nigeria.

  1. SECURITY-Police, Military, and the Department of State Services (DSS)

The Nigerian Police and the military DSS have collectively failed woefully to serve the people of Nigeria and have converted themselves to private security guards for the rich, high, and powerful. The Nigerian police, the military, and DSS have become powerful tools of oppression readily available for use by the government in power and politicians.

The Nigerian Police was a major participant in the election fraud during the 2023 elections, for example, a police officer was guarding the notorious thug and hoodlum, Mr. MC Oluomo while he was issuing his edict that any voter who voted for any party other than the ruling party, All Progressive Congress (APC) would be killed. Instead of arresting him the Nigerian Police was assigned to protect him.

Now, therefore be it Resolved as follows:

6a. The Nigerian Police must be unbundled and decentralized in order to effectively maintain law and order across the entire country. A single police system has become archaic and inadequate to effectively and adequately police a country as populous as Nigeria and with an expansive land mass.

6b. There should be a four-tier police system in Nigeria, namely, zonal or regional police, state police, LGA police, and city police.

6c. There should be no federal police except that EFCC could be modified to be the federal police. Its duty would be to investigate federal crimes and refer to the prosecutorial division of the Ministry of Justice.

6d. There shall be Zonal Police each responsible for each of the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.

6e. There shall be an independent State Police formation run by each of the thirty-six States.

6f. There shall be LGA police run by each of the 774 local government areas of the federation. And finally

6g. There shall be city police in major cities as determined by each of the states based on the size and population of the city.

  1. RULE OF LAW VERSUS RULE OF LAWLESSNESS

The Nigerian government is known for selective compliance with Court orders. Nigeria has majorly becomearulemakingcountryandnotarule-abidingcountry. Nigeriamustbepartofarule-based International World Order if it wants a seat in the respected group of growing economies.

For example, there are three notable instances where the Federal Government of Nigeria with impunity has refused to comply with court orders, namely, Mr. Namdi Kanu, El Zazky, and Mr. Sunday Igboho AKA Sunday Adeyemi.

Now, therefore be it Resolved,

7a. The Nigerian Government, should as a matter of urgency, address the increasing erosion, disregard, and contempt for the rule of law by the Office of the Attorney General of Nigeria.

7b. Additionally, the Nigerian Supreme Court should take appropriate steps to defend the rights of free speech, freedom of association, and the adherence of the Nigerian polity to a rule-based national and international order.

7c. NADECO therefore calls on the Federal Government of Nigeria to effect the unconditional release of all political detainees\prisoners, within and outside Nigeria.

7d. NADECO finally calls on the Federal Government of Nigeria to pledge strict compliance with jus cogens norms of international human rights law.

  1. THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS

ReactionsfromsomeMembersofCongress

8a. U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,

U.S. SHOULD NOT RUSH TO EMBRACE NIGERIAN ELECTION RESULTS

According to Sen Risch of Idaho, the ongoing electoral process in Nigeria is widely viewed as deeply flawed by election observers and many Nigerians. He states that it is disappointing to see the administration rush to embrace the result while the full picture of what occurred during this electoral process is yet to be seen.

Sen. Risch further states that Nigerians and the international community worry that this rush to judgment will undermine the US’s ability to be an effective partner to all Nigerians, especially given their longstanding desire for democracy.

8b. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) released the following statement on the Nigerian election:

The Congresswoman from Minnesota stated “I am deeply concerned over the delays and serious allegations of irregularities, including fraud, by multiple independent observers in the recent Nigerian presidential election.

The Congresswoman further stated thus “I urge full transparency and swift action from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), along with a full accounting of allegations of voter suppression, delayed poll openings, the failure of the new electronic voting system, and a sharp decline in turnout.

The Congresswoman continued in her statements that “Democracy rests on free, fair, and transparent elections. When elections are not fair, open, and transparent, it’s disenfranchising and shatters faith in government. Nigeria’s low turnout already suggests a lack of faith in the country’s democratic institutions. It is critical that the process plays out correctly.

The Congresswoman continued that “Allowing electoral challenges to go through the system is a key part of a functioning democratic process. It is also a way to help build confidence and avoid protracted conflict.

Finally, the Congresswoman said this: “The international community should support an independent and transparent process and wait until these challenges are resolved before prematurely pronouncing a winner.”

Now, therefore, be it Resolved,

NADECO calls on the US Congress to introduce a bipartisan Non-binding Bill in the US Congress urging the Biden Administration to withhold the recognition of the President-elect until the election matters in court have received a finality.

Lloyd F. Ukwu, Esquire

Executive Director NADECO USA

nadecoamerica@gmail.com

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The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Nigeria’s premier pro-democracy group based in Washington D.C. Established in 1994, NADECO was founded by a coalition of prominent politicians and pro-democracy campaigners from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds.

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    The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Nigeria’s premier pro-democracy group based in Washington D.C. Established in 1994, NADECO was founded by a coalition of prominent politicians and pro-democracy campaigners from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds.

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