The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday led a ‘black uniform’ protest to the national headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja to protest the outcome of the February 25 poll.
The PDP flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar; the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu; the Vice Presidential Candidate of the party and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, amongst other leaders of the party led the protest.
The protesters later blocked the INEC headquarters’ entrance. The security personnel at the Commission have since locked the gate.
See some photos of the protest by Channels Television’s Sodiq Adelakun:
Others at the protest include the Chairman of Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) and Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel; the Director General of PCC and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Bola Tinubu polled 8,794,726 and was declared President-Elect 4am Wednesday by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The former Lagos State governor came out tops in 12 of Nigeria’s 36 states, and secured significant numbers in several other states to claim the highest number of votes — 8,794,726, almost two million votes more than his closest rival — Atiku.
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Atiku, 76, who has now run for president six times, got 6,984,520 votes, while Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), who, in less than a year, galvanised young voters in a manner some have described as unprecedented finished the race with 6,101,533.
By his victory, APC’s President Muhammadu Buhari will hand over to his partyman, Tinubu after the expiration of his eight-year two-term on May 29, 2023.
Criticism, Calls For Poll Cancellation
The announcement of the results would not have happened if other candidates had their way.
Right from the election on Saturday, opposition parties had complained bitterly that INEC officials at the polling units were unable to upload election results electronically to the commission’s Results Viewing Portal (IReV), as stipulated by Section 60 of the Electoral Act 2022.
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The IReV and the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) are new technologies introduced by the electoral body for the accreditation and electronic transmission of votes for this year’s polls.
The leadership of the APC, LP at several press briefings from Saturday to Tuesday had called on INEC and protested the manual transmission of results.
The parties said the results by INEC showed “monumental disparities” between what the party agents signed and what INEC officials announced in Abuja and asked Mahmood to respect the upload of results electronically as stipulated by recommended by the law.
They said the manual transmission of results compromised the integrity of the election process and demanded a cancellation of the election and asked the electoral chief to step down. They said the results announced by INEC were “irretrievably compromised”.
Opposition party agents had staged a walkout from the national collation centre in Abuja on Monday after the INEC chief insisted that the process must continue despite that all results were not electronically transmitted.
At a previous press conference on Tuesday, LP national chair said, “This election is not free and far from being fair”.
Similarly, former President Olusegun Obasanjo as well as leaders in the West African sub-region led by former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan; ex-Ghanaian President John Mahama had before the declaration of results called on INEC to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 on the collation of results for the presidential and National Assembly elections held on February 25, 2023.
However, INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu declared Tinubu as Nigeria’s President-Elect and handed him his Certificate of Return.
‘A Rape Of Democracy’
Atiku, on Thursday, slammed INEC over the conduct of the elections, saying the umpire’s inability to upload results on IReV is a “rape of democracy”.
“The weekend election was neither free nor fair. Preliminary assessments indicate that it is the worst conducted elections since the return to democratic rule. The manipulation and fraud that attended this election were unprecedented in the history of our nation,” the former vice president said.
He vowed to challenge the outcome of the election and believes the judiciary will do justice to the matter.
“Having consulted with leaders of our party and Nigerians from different walks of life, I have come to the conclusion that the processes and outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly election of last Saturday were grossly flawed in every material particular, and as such must be challenged. This has been attested to by both local and international observers,” he said.
“I want to believe that this was not the legacy that President Muhammadu Buhari had promised. For President Buhari, it is not too late to make amends for the good of our country and future generations and indeed to assure his legacy.”