The vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ifeanyi Okowa; and his Labour Party (LP) counterpart, Datti Baba-Ahmed have unanimously called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.
Okowa and Baba-Ahmed stated this at a joint briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.
Okowa, who is also the governor of Delta State, said “it is clearly stated in that Electoral Act that all election results must be transmitted at the polling unit level” and that it is only the results electronically transmitted from the polling units that can be collated at the centre.
“If you have not transmitted those results, it means that you have actually not conducted elections under the very law that we all applauded.
“So, the right thing for the INEC chairman to do is to cancel the elections,” the PDP vice-presidential candidate stated.
On his part, Datti Baba-Ahmed adopted Okowa’s position. “I hereby adopt the submission of my brother, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of the PDP,” he said.
“Now, we are witnessing the fact that the next government will be built on outright illegality.”
The LP vice-presidential candidate warned the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu not to promote illegality, saying he should respect the rule of law.
Read full statement:
Being the text of the joint press conference by the Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and Vice Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Dr Datti Ahmed on Tuesday, 28th of February, 2023 at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
On Saturday, the 25th of February, 2023, Nigerians from the different parts of our great country braced all manner of challenges to cast their votes for their preferred candidates. And having cast their votes, they are expectantly awaiting the results of the presidential and National Assembly election. We wish to state for the records that last weekend’s election was a sham. It was neither free nor fair. What played out yesterday at the National Collation Center exposes the National Chairman of playing to a predetermined script. Our position remains that the election and transmission of the results must be in tandem with the Electoral Act and the INEC guidelines.
There is no doubt that INEC is under a statutory obligation to transmit election results electronically. Paragraph 38 of the INEC manual made pursuant to section 149 of the Electoral Act 2022 and the 1999 constitution as amended provides for this. That paragraph, which deals with the transmission of results at the polling units, is crucial, and it imposes statutory obligations on the part of INEC to upload polling units results on its portal.
There is no doubt that polling units results are the pyramid upon which other results are built. Therefore, it is required that the moment polls come to a close and the results are declared, the results must be uploaded on INEC server or portal.
Paragraph 38 of INEC Manual 2022 made pursuant to the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and section 149 of of the Electoral Act 2022 provides that: “On completion of all the Polling Unit voting and results procedures, the Presiding Officer shall:
The argument that INEC guidelines have no force of law is idle and wayward arguments. This is not even the question of alterations of the results. It is a question of non-compliance with mandatory statutory provisions. The argument that it is only when the Chief Electoral Officer of the Federation announces the winner of the Presidential election that the results can be uploaded on the INE C portal cannot be correct. There must be uploading of results at the polling units after the polling officers had announced the winner at the polling units.
Finally, we call on the commission to thread on the path of honour by cancelling the election outright and commence the process of a fresh election that will not only be credible but will be seen to be credible by Nigerians.