…EU report confirms poll was rigged for Buhari – PDP
…APC vindicated by EU report, says VON DG
Tunde Opalana, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Sunday, sharply disagreed over the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Nigeria final report on the 2019 general election.
The report which was released on Saturday strongly recommended fundamental reformation of the nation’s electoral process following identified systemic failings, severe operational and transparency shortcomings, security problems and low turnouts of voters.
The Mission concluded that the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was insufficiently transparent in the process, guilty of operational shortcomings and untidy processing of results Collation.
Also, the observation mission picked holes in infringements in electoral security, noting that the 2019 polls were marred by increasing violence and intimidation while it concluded that the INEC- chaired Inter- agency Consultative Committee on Election Security was not sufficiently effective because the committee failed to involve stakeholders or provide necessary information.
Reacting, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the report of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Nigeria on the 2019 general election contain startling revelations which has further vindicated the party’s position that the February 23 Presidential election was rigged to favour President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The party noted that the revelations of manipulations as detailed in the EU report further validates queries by majority of Nigerians that President Buhari was not validly returned for a second term in office.
In a statement on Sunday by PDP spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) said the PDP has not been crying wolf in insisting that the election was outrightly rigged with the cancellation of millions of PDP votes, alteration of results and allocation of fictitious votes to the APC.
According to the party, Nigerians are still in shock over the revelations by EU of how about 2.8 million votes were deliberately “cancelled without sufficient accountability” and how several returning officers gave no reason for the cancellations.
The party said “more shocking is the iniquity committed at the national collation centre, headed by the INEC Chairman, where the EU report exposed inconsistent numbers, distortions and “a large discrepancy of “1.66 million more registered voters, as announced by INEC on 14 January, compared to those announced by state returning officers during the collation of presidential results.
“Nigerians witnessed, on national TV, how professors and returning officers were unable to reconcile result figures due to heavy manipulations upon which INEC declared the APC winner.
“The EU report has further exposed the iniquity committed by the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC by listing how ballot boxes were compromised, how essential materials were missing, how “voter register was not always ticked as required” and how “manual authentication procedures were not correctly followed”.
“The report also bared how figures on result forms did not reconcile, how result forms were not publicly posted, how “result forms and smart card readers were not packed in tamper-evident envelops as required”, in addition to how the APC administration used security forces to intimidate voters, aid violence against our members and muscled votes for the APC.”
Commending the EU for the courage in exposing the evils committed by the APC and INEC in the 2019 general election, the PDP said the report has further reinforced the confidence of millions of Nigerians in their collective expectation of justice in the quest to retrieve PDP’s stolen presidential mandate at the tribunal.
The PDP insisted that those in INEC, who perpetrated such crime against the nation, in sabotaging the sanctity of our electoral processes to frustrate the choice of Nigerians in a presidential election, must be brought to book and made to face the wrath of the law.
The party urged Nigerians to remain calm as the truth about the election continues to unfold while justice takes its course on the matter.
However, the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu, said the EU report on the 2019 general election vindicates the All Progressives Congress (APC) that INEC didn’t generate the elections’ results from server.
Okechukwu said this on Sunday in Enugu while speaking with newsmen in reaction to the EUEOM report on the elections.
The VON director general, who is also a chieftain of the APC, said he was glad to hear the Deputy Chief of the EU Observer Mission, Hannah Roberts, agreeing with the reality of relying on results that were released by INEC.
Okechukwu said: “Some of us have been vindicated, as our position has been that INEC did not generate the 2019 general elections result from server.
We have maintained that it’s trite in law that one cannot build something out of nothing; accordingly, we agree with EU election observer mission’s denial of knowledge of the existence of the so called server used by INEC to conduct 2019 general elections.”
According to him, what amuses one is the paradox in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) canvass that in one breath, INEC conducted elections transparently in Adamawa, Bauchi, Imo, Oyo, Zamfara states where it won and in another breath, manipulated the results in axis it lost.
“Methink, it’s wrong to gloss over the truism that President Muhammadu Buhari has a 12 million Vote-Bank, which had been on display in 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019 Presidential Elections.
“Therefore, Facebook Sever or Twitter Server, the hard fact is that Buhari has cult followership, which is only comparable to that of Malam Aminu Kano or Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sarduna of Sokoto, both of blessed memory, in the North.
Nobody can erase this hard fact,’’ he said.
On the EU report’s pointing out systemic failings seen in the elections, low levels of voter participation and call for fundamental electoral reforms, Okechukwu noted that Buhari had assured of putting a holistic reform to the electoral system.
“Am in league with statement emanating from the presidency that Buhari will work with all Nigerian citizens, state institutions, civil society, the media and other experts to make sure that there will be proper electoral reforms.
“Let me plead with INEC to gradually commence the introduction of E-Voting (Electronic-Voting) in the off cycle state elections, as preparatory ground for full implementation.
“We must remind ourselves that there was a time when one eminent citizen said that telephone is not for the poor, but today the groundnut hawker in his village has smart phone.
“We must commence e-voting as a matter of urgent national importance,’’ he added.