Atiku leads PDP leaders on protest to INEC office in Abuja
Presidential candidate of opposition Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, on Monday led chieftains of the party on a protest to the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in Abuja.
The PDP leaders, who took off from the Legacy House, made their positions known on conduct and outcome of the February 25 presidential and national assembly elections.
Those who participated in the protest include the PDP National Chairman Iyorchia Ayu, Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Senator Adolphus Wabara; Chief Raymond Dokpesi; former Adamawa State Governor Boni Haruna, Sen Dino Melaye, PDP Youth Leader Kadade Suleiman, among others
They submitted a letter which was addressed to the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu.
Receiving the letter on behalf of INEC chairman, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said, “I promise you this letter will be transmitted to him. If there are remedial issues we will deal with those remedial issues.
“But I want to assure you that this Commission is a listening Commission. This Commission is a public trust and this Commission belongs to the Nigerian people.
“Our allegiance is to the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This Commission does not owe allegiance to any political party.”
Below are pictures from the event and text of the letter submitted to INEC.
March 06, 2023.
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
ATTENTION: Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu
THE POSITION OF THE PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP) ON THE CONDUCT AND OUTCOME OF THE PRESIDENTIAL AND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS OF FEBRUARY 25, 2023.
The above subject matter refers.
The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after long sessions of meetings to review and deliberate on the outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on February 25, 2023 considers it expedient to communicate to you and other critical stakeholders and partners in the advancement of democracy in Nigeria, the position of our great Party (PDP) with regard to the conduct and outcome of that election.
It is indeed disheartening to say that the election which raised the hopes of all Nigerians to witness an advancement in our electoral process turned out to be a charade.
You would recall the outcry of many concerned citizens of this country variously accusing your commission of complicity in a planned manipulation of the electoral process in favour of the ruling Party (APC). At each time the issues took the media front burner you were quick in dispelling them as rumors and mere allegations. Today Nigerians have all seen that those allegations were true.
In many meetings and briefings your commission held with the Political Parties and the Press ahead of the 2023 general elections, you assured Nigerians that INEC under your leadership would conduct a free, fair, transparent and credible election. You also promised the use of the Bimodal Verification and Accreditation System (BVAS) technology in voter accreditation and result management whereby the public would have unhindered access to the results uploaded to your Servers online and in real time (iREV). Contrary to this belief there was an abysmal failure on your part to honour your promises.
Predictably, the conduct and outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly elections fell below acceptable standards. It has resonated the fears of all Nigerians in your integrity and that of your commission to conduct a free, fair, transparent and credible election. The confidence you deceitfully made us to repose in you and your commission has been battered and eroded away by the outcome of that election. The masses are angry and have not hidden their resentment and rejection of the purported declaration you made to that effect.
Without any equivocation, this election, in the history of our country elicited so much interest, awareness, commitment and dexterity in Nigerians to exercise their civic responsibility.
The major factors that heightened the zeal and confidence of Nigerians to participate in the electoral process were the failures of the ruling APC government, the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) technology ,the Electoral Act 2022 and your repeated assurances of bequeathing Nigerians a credible electoral process.
Everyone recalls with disappointment the reported widespread irregularities and manipulations that marred the election. There are ample evidences to show deliberate complicity of your commission in the entire fraud. The falsification of results and deliberate de-activation of the BVAS and your Servers to frustrate the transmission of election results directly from the Polling Units attest to that. In all these issues brought to your attention you refused to act.
Nigerians are no more in doubt of your direct involvement in aiding and abetting the monumental rigging and manipulation of the election results in favour of the ruling Party (APC). In addition, the refusal and neglect of your electoral officers to transmit the results of the election directly from the Polling Units (PU) to INEC Servers as required by law is a flagrant violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022. This action is not acceptable to Nigerians and neither to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It therefore stands to be challenged.
For want of clarity, Section 64 (4) (b) of the Electoral Act 2022 specifically provides thus;
“A collation officer or Returning Officer at an election shall collate and announce the result of an election subject to his or her verification and confirmation that the –
(b) “Votes stated on the collated result are correct and consistent with the votes or results recorded and transmitted directly from Polling Units under Section 60 (4) of this Act”
Consequent upon the above Section 60 (4) of the Electoral Act 2022, the result you have announced and the declarations made are ultra vires, illegal and of no effect except for results transmitted directly from the Polling Units.
It is therefore circumspect that despite the agitations by Nigerians and our Party during the collation process protesting the reported irregularities surrounding the election you proceeded with the announcement of the results in utter disregard of the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.
It is funny and a gross abuse of our electoral process for your commission to have commenced transmission of the February 25, election results from the various Polling Units (PU) days after the results of the said election had been announced and purported winners declared. Your action in this regard is an affront on the sensibilities of all Nigerians which we have vowed to resist.
Notably, the hasty declaration of the election results evidently violating the Electoral Act 2022 places your integrity to total scrutiny going by your deceitful representations and assurances to Nigerians and the International Community that the Electoral Act 2022 is a game changer that would guarantee a free, fair, transparent and credible electoral process especially with the BVAS transmission of election results directly from the Polling Units.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) detests and condemns this absurdity and brazen rape of our electoral process. Nigeria should be seen as a country governed by the rule of law and it is a responsibility we collectively owe our citizens desirous of entrenching true democratic principles and the rule of law. In this circumstance we call on all Nigerians both home and in the diaspora to stand firmly in defense of their rights, votes and stolen mandate.
In consideration of the foregoing, the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) acting on the mandate of the Nigerian electorate has resolved as follows;
1. To reject and declare as unacceptable the outcome, announcement and declaration of the Presidential election results.
2. To call on your commission to suspend the on- going transmission of the Polling Units results to your Server which is in complete breach of the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.
3. To warn your commission against a repeat of the experiences of the February 25, election in the coming Governorship and State Assembly elections of March 11, 2023. Any attempt to manipulate the electoral process will be vehemently resisted.
4. To call on all Nigerians to be co-partners in defense of our democracy, votes, the rule of law and their Rights to freely choose the candidates of their choice.
5. To demand an explanation why you proceeded with the declaration of the election results marred with irregularities against all calls to address the complaints brought to your attention before and during the collation process.
We are writing to you because we want to bring our grievances and demands formally to your attention for necessary action.
Furthermore, to inform you and your commission that, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) together with the ordinary and aggrieved masses of our dear country will no longer tolerate any act in defiance of our electoral processes and laws. We feel pained at the outcome of the February 25, 2023 election and the provocative declaration your commission made against the will of the people. Sadly, this is coming at the time Nigerians were in high hopes of embracing a reformed electoral process.
Please take caution in your acts to avoid destabilizing our fledgling democracy.
Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.
Sen. Samuel N. Anyanwu