The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rejected the results of the presidential election collated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja yesterday .
Its grievance was that the results conflicted with the ones it had recorded from the election.
The National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, made it clear at a press conference that “the PDP’s collation centres have all original results from every polling unit, in every ward, in every Local Government Area in Nigeria, of which the international community is well aware, implying all results currently being announced by INEC are incorrect thus unacceptable to our party and people.”
He accused officials of both the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government and the All Progressives Congress (APC) of working with INEC officers to alter the course of history and disenfranchise voters through the cancellation and manipulation of figures for results already announced “at polling units, nationwide, in Local Government Areas (LGAs) where our party, the PDP, had commanding votes.” He noted that this must now be resisted by every well meaning Nigerian.
According to the opposition party, “in full view of the watching world, and despite efforts by our great party and its agents to adhere to every laid down provision for the 2019 general elections, the APC in collusion with INEC has taken aggressive steps, mostly through inducements, manipulation and incarcerations, using the elements of state power, including the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Army in particular, alongside other organisations, including the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to silence the voices of our long suffering people; this is disheartening, considering the terms of the Peace Accord, which called for impartiality and non-partisanship by members of our security organisation with constitutional roles to play during this civic exercise.”
The PDP alleged that “as results trickled in on Sunday, February 24th, 2019, clearly putting the PDP in the lead, the ruling party and President Buhari dispatched high-ranking officials to coercively influence the outcomes in different geopolitical zones in the country.
“With the INEC server hacked by agents of the APC to manipulate results, we can with certainty state that results from some polling units have, for example, been tampered with.
“As if these provocations are not enough, our agents and officials are constantly arrested and in many cases locked up for complaining that card readers were not in use in many northern states, implying that all results from the northern part of the country where card readers were not used should be voided in accordance with INEC guidelines.”
However, President Buhari, who is the APC candidate, said that rather than go by the rumour mill, he would rely on the INEC for the final results of the election.
The president who yesterday returned to Abuja from his hometown, Daura, Katsina State, where he had gone to cast his vote, expressed the hope that Nigerians would appreciate his administration’s efforts in making it possible for them to exercise their franchise in a peaceful atmosphere.
He told reporters on arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja yesterday that he would wait for the official declaration of results before making any comments on the election.
Asked what message he had for Nigerians, Buhari said: “l hope that Nigerians will appreciate that it was this government which made sure that they were allowed in security and peace to cast their votes for whichever party and candidates they wanted.”
On his impressions of the election so far, he said: “I don’t want to depend on rumours, we will rather wait for INEC to announce the results.”
By 12:45 a.m. today when the INEC concluded the collation of the results of the presidential election in 12 states, Buhari was leading Atiku. The collation was adjourned until 10:00 a.m. today.
As the election results were being collated yesterday, some observer groups were releasing their reports on the conduct of the polls.
The Commonwealth Observation Group (COG) condemned the violence that characterised the exercise in some parts of the country.
At a press conference yesterday in Abuja to present an initial report of its findings, the group led by former President of the Republic of Tanzania, Dr. Jakaye Kikwete, called for prosecution of perpetrators of the violence.
Kikwete, who maintained that violence had no place in a modern democracy, insisted that “those responsible should be brought to book.”
According to him, Nigeria is a key member of the Commonwealth and the elections conducted across the country were significant exercises.
Kikwete said that it was observed that the Nigerian environment was highly charged with security breaches and records of violence in some parts of the nation.
He lamented that the observers deployed across various states, including Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) reported delay in the commencement of the elections in some areas.
He stated that even though INEC authorised the extension of time, the information was not properly managed, resulting in the disenfranchisement of many Nigerians.
Other observations include the intimidation of polling staff, inability of Nigerian election monitors to vote and malfunctioning of smart card readers in some areas across the country.
He, however, observed that the process of counting of ballots at the polling units was transparent.
“We acknowledge the important roles of the police and other security agencies in protecting voters. This was a highly contested election. There was an increase in the number of contestants.
“Although the atmosphere was tensed, general freedom of movement was observed. There was also an increase in the number of female contestants. About 500 women vied for elective positions,” Kikwete stated.