As Nigerians and the entire global community await the outcome of last Saturday’s presidential election with bated breath, the ruling party, the All Progressives Party (APC) and the major opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are locked in a battle of claims and counter-claims over alleged plots to falsify results.
Unofficial results from across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, showed that President Muhammadu Buhari and former vice president Atiku Abubakar, candidates of the two main political parties, are in a tight race.
Although the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has not formally declared any result, the PDP has accused the Presidency and the ruling party of planning to doctor the results.
But in a swift reaction, the APC described the statement as “unwarranted strike against democracy and the people of Nigeria.”
The PDP, in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, accused some PDP governors of attempting to alter the election results in their respective states.
The opposition party noted that from the “verifiable” results at its disposal, it is obvious that its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has won the presidential poll.
“Intelligence available to us is that INEC is delaying the announcement of results following directives by the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC), which are bent on altering the figures from the polling centers and allocate fictitious figures for President Muhammadu Buhari, particularly in northern states.
“Curiously, INEC server is now shut down, results are no more being transmitted and the reason is to enable the APC to inflate figures from six designated states.
“We call on international observers and election monitors to insist on a transparent process of transmission of results and the monitoring thereof.
“We already have reports of how APC governors in the northern states have been making desperate effort to tamper with the results of the elections in their respective states with the view to award conjured votes to President Buhari.
“The PDP calls on INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to note that in this age of information communication technology, Nigerians already have the results as delivered at the polling centers and any attempt to alter any figure will be faced with vehement resistance.
“In delaying the announcement of the results, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu is allowing the APC to turn him into a villain and directly pitching him against the people. He should, therefore, extricate himself from the rejected APC and be on the side of the people, by immediately announcing the results as already delivered at the polling units and declare, the people’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, the winner,” the PDP stated.
However, the ruling party in a statement by Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, frowned at what it tagged PDP’s reckless calls on INEC to arbitrarily name its candidate, Atiku, winner of the presidential election.
It described the call as shameful and alarming.
“Unwilling to wait for INEC, the constituted legal authority to complete its task, the PDP seeks a short cut by false and premature claims of victory. This cannot stand.
“Our nation is trying to perfect its democracy, not turn it into a mockery. Sadly, this objective is lost to the PDP. The PDP’s guiding principle is distilled to the following; because they want something, then they should get it. What they use to guide themselves actually blinds them instead.
“Because they want the presidency so badly that they have engaged in all manner of misconduct and spared little cost to achieve their aim, they now believe that they are entitled to claim victory notwithstanding the vote and will of the people. But this is not the way of democracy. Democracy means the people choose for themselves not that the PDP chooses for them.
“That may have been the way in the past when they engineered and kidnapped elections to achieve their desired end notwithstanding the true will of the people. Thankfully, those days are gone and gone forever.
“These elections are supposed to be democratic exercises not a platform for the PDP to impose their selfish designs on a hopeful nation.The PDP should honour and follow the sovereign will and sober dignity of the Nigerian people.
“The people patiently waited the additional week for Election Day to come. The vast majority of people again exercised patience as they peacefully voted on Election Day. Unfortunately, isolated incidents of violence took place.
“We are deeply saddened by the violence and disruption that did occur. Nigerians died yesterday and that should never have happened and should never happen again during an election of any kind in our land. Their deaths are needless tragedies that mar what was otherwise a celebration of our maturing democracy.
“Instead of the discordant and provocative statement it released, the PDP should be appealing for peace and for INEC to diligently and thoroughly perform the vital task assigned it. Curiously, the majority of violent incidents and reports of electoral malpractice emanate from states which the PDP controls. It appears the PDP just cannot break from their old ways.
“The PDP press statement is but a continuation of the sordid games that party has mastered. While all evidence points to the misconduct of their people, they make outlandish and false claims against the APC. This is but the typical modus operandi of a master swindler. They seek to distract the public eye from their own wrongs, by falsely accusing the APC of the very things they had conspired to set in motion months before this election even took place. From trying to falsify results on the ground to attempts at hacking the INEC software, they are willing to say and do anything to obtain victory, no matter how tainted by the wrongs they commit.
“For our part, the APC has governed and campaigned as we believed was right. Because of this, we are content to await the verdict of the people. We also believe that only INEC has the authority to announce election results. What the PDP is trying to do, by claiming without any factual basis that Atiku has won, is usurp INEC’s constitutional authority. Moreover, PDP’s words are rash eruptions that may incite needless violence and unrest.”
Meanwhile, an independent election observer group, Center for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), has said armed military officials participated in the electoral process in an obvious violation of Electoral Act.
The group said it received several reports and evidences that armed military officers who were supposed to be far away from the election venues left their primary responsibilities and became participants in the electoral process.
The Executive Director, Faith Nwadishi, said at a press conference in Abuja, that the conduct of the armed forces deployed to flash points to ensure the security of lives and property leaves much to be desired. In many instances, the soldiers practically left their primary responsibilities and became participants in the electoral process. Such incidences were more conspicuous in Rivers, Bayelsa and Yobe states.”