JUST IN: Buhari’s Win, INEC Restrained Voters –Osita Chidoka

Andrew Onyejuruuwa
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), represented by Chief Osita Chidoka has vehemently objected what it called selective use of Smart Card Readers (SCRs) in parts of northern states, which it argued was a breach of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC’s) guideline. For that, they argue that the results of the presidential election held last Saturday ought to be reviewed. However, INEC has gone ahead to declare Buhari winner.

Raising other apprehensions over the conduct of the elections, including the deprivation of about 5.1 million voters from participation due to cancellation of votes arising from card reader infractions and violence, the party called for the suspension of declaration of returns until its concerns are addressed, but INEC refused.

The party’s concerns were expressed by its agent, Chief Osita Chidoka, who argued that since the 5.1 million restrained votes were more than the 3.9million votes margin of win scored by President Muhammadu Buhari, it had become necessary to review the outcome of the election and consider the suspension of the declaration exercise. In his response, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the commission was unable to accede to the request of the PDP because its assertions were not substantive, explaining that since declaration exercise was part of a process, the electoral body would examine the party’s observations and take it into consideration when reviewing the electoral process.

In a related development, a coalition of Nigeria civil society group, The Situation Room, yesterday said it also observed serious discrepancies in some of the results of the presidential election so far announced by INEC. The observer groups said it was compelled to state its position because some of the numbers/votes announced so far by the State Returning Officers at the INEC National Collation Centre, Abuja, raised concerns.

In a statement issued by the Executive Director, Policy & Legal Advocacy Centre and Convener, Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Mr. Clement Nwankwo, the body said discrepancies affected a total of 513,214 in 27 states including Nasarawa, Kogi, Adamawa, Edo and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). It said considering the fact that there was simultaneous accreditation and voting, a careful look at some of the figures of accredited voters and the total number of votes cast showed discrepancies. INEC, which would not take any of these has said it would present the certificate of return to Buhari at 2p.m. today.

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