Nigerians have continued to express their dissatisfaction in the manual collation of votes for the presidential election, an action some say is in contravention to the provisions of the 2022 electoral act.
Recall that just before the presidential election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, had assured Nigerians that election results would be uploaded realtime using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System BVAS at the various polling units across the country. The INEC National Commissioner for voter education, Festus Okoye, also made a similar pledge while featuring on different public and media platforms prior to the election.
Following the failure of INEC to deploy the BVAS for the presidential election, former president Olusegun Obasanjo raised alarm against the electoral body, saying that its officials were compromised, and that results were doctored. Obasanjo spoke on Monday as collation of the presidential and National Assembly election results was ongoing.
He asked Buhari to order the cancellation of doctored results and ensure that the commission embarks on fresh polls in the affected areas on Saturday, March 4, 2023.
According to Obasanjo, the commission spent a lot of money introducing the BVAS and the Server to transmit results from polling units immediately and yet it was not used, rather it was done manually.
“It is no secret that INEC officials, at operational level, have been allegedly compromised to make what should have worked not to work and to revert to manual transmission of results which is manipulated and the results doctored,” Obasanjo said.
But Tinubu, in a swift response to Obasanjo’s cancellation call, called on Buhari not to allow Obasanjo lure him into staining his democratic credentials. Tinubu, in a statement by Special Adviser, Media, Communications and Public Affairs, APC Presidential Campaign Council (APC PCC), Dele Alake, urged Nigerians to reject Obasanjo’s dubious and hypocritical advice and follow the democratic due process as contained in the constitution.
Former president Obasanjo further noted that the results that were brought outside BVAS and Server are not a true reflection of the will of Nigerians. He therefore appealed to the Chairman of INEC to save Nigeria from the looming danger and disaster waiting to happen and cancel the election.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP) and African Democratic Congress (ADC) also demanded a fresh election, saying the current election had been “irretrievably compromised”. The PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, and their LP and ADC counterparts, Julius Abure and Ralph Nwosu, made this known at a joint press conference in Abuja.
They alleged that INEC officials manipulated the results of the presidential and National Assembly elections at the polling units by failing to upload results electronically on the commission’s Results Viewing Portal (IReV).
Furthermore, a vote of no confidence was declared on INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu, and he was asked to immediately step aside for an unbiased person to take over and conduct a fresh election.
Earlier, before the joint statement, the agents of the PDP, Dino Melaye and Emeka Ihedioha, an agent of the Labour Party, amongst others, openly expressed their dissatisfaction in INEC and in the process of the collation of results from state collation officers for the presidential election, starting with Ekiti.
However, the INEC chairman maintained that there was no over-voting in Ekiti and that the results presented by the SCOPs are accurate and that the process must continue.
Former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, also showed his displeasure, and asked INEC to take note of the allegations of misconduct trailing the presidential election. He stated that there were genuine cases of concern regarding how the presidential election was conducted in several parts of the country.
He also said INEC should take all the time required to ensure that it delivered results that would inspire the people’s confidence and meet time-tested international standards.
One of the individuals, Itang Bassey, a resident of the FCT Abuja, said he had lost confidence in the electoral body and doubts that he will participate in future elections.
”I am yet to recover from the trauma INEC put me into. I must tell you that I am greatly disappointed, not just only me but every Nigerian who wants the country to make progress. Sincerely speaking, I don’t think I will make myself available for any other future election. It is finished for me,” he lamented.
Also speaking, Amos Shaibu said, “It is right that Nigerians demand that INEC refund over N400bn the government gave to them. There is no justification to demand such a huge amount to get equipment and fail simultaneously to use it. I smell a serious conspiracy to favour a particular candidate.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari and former president Goodluck Jonathan has already congratulated Bola Ahmed Tinibu after he was declared President-elect.