BY MAYOWA SAMUEL
The Labour Party has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman Mahmood Yakubu to suspend the announcement of results from Saturday’s presidential election saying that the polls across the nation fell short of the free, fair, transparent and credible standard as earlier promised by the Commission.
A statement by the Director Media, Obi-datti campaign organisation, Diran Onifade, said the party has carefully considered field reports from locations all over the country and became convinced that the election in all ramifications was opposite of what the INEC promised to offer to Nigerians.
The statement reads in part, “On Saturday the 25th of February 2023, Nigeria witnessed an election, on which it had placed so much hope.
“From all across the country, millions of Nigerians eager for a new order, trooped out to the polling booths, hopeful in the promise of INEC and the Federal Government that a responsible and credible process will be ensured, through a level playing field.
“After careful consideration of field reports from locations around the country, we have on record, hard video, documentary and first hand evidences of criminal conspiracies, tricks and irregularities by some INEC and security officials on one side, and also vicious attacks by political thugs, as well as clear evidence of inducement by politicians, one of whom was caught with half a million dollars in cash.
“In the light of the above, the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council is of the firm conviction, that the processes and practices as carried on by INEC, and as permitted by some security agencies, do not in the most reasonable minimum, meet the required standards of credibility and were not fundamentally, free and fair.”
Onifade maintained that the party is convinced that the election is compromised and cannot produce genuine results.
“We further present that a compromised election cannot produce genuine results nor can they be lawful, or in accordance with the constitution and the Electoral Act 2022.
“The Amended Electoral Act says that Election Results are to be uploaded to the central server from the Polling Units. What is going on is practically Manual Collation that makes no sense at all.
“According to Section 60 of the Electoral Act, 2022, the Presiding Officer in an election is mandated to announce the results at the polling unit in the presence of the party agents and have the same uploaded at the polling units in the presence of the parties participating in the election or their agents.
“The widespread actions of INEC in moving the results away from the polling units across our strongholds and thereafter announcing the results in the absence of our party agents fall short of the above provision.”
He noted that on the basis of these anomalies, “the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Organisation hereby states that the conduct of the elections of 25th February 2023, including the ongoing charade of declaration of ‘results’ in the states and in Abuja are unacceptable, and the party hereby demand unequivocally, for the suspension of all processes, until these recorded cases of compromise, illegality and criminality are justifiably resolved, especially in the states of Edo, Imo and Rivers and various parts of the North.
“We see the trickery of not uploading the presidential election results from the polling centres and the alteration and replacement of Form EC8A as an egregious act of brazen fraud which must not stand.
“We call upon our supporters, support groups, voters and indeed, all Nigerians to stay calm and vigilant, while we wait for INEC to urgently do what is right.
“We urge the international community, Election Observers and all true friends of Nigeria to critically review the conduct of these elections and stand firmly on the side of fairness and justice.
“We are totally confident that in this matter, on which the future of our country rests, the people will overcome, no matter how long it may take.”