The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the declaration and return of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, as President-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). In a statement issued on Thursday by Debo Ologunagba, National Publicity Secretary, the PDP demanded that INEC immediately withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to the APC flag bearer.
According to the PDP, its demand for the withdrawal of the Certificate of Return and the cancellation of the presidential election declaration aligns with INEC’s powers under Section 65 of the Electoral Act 2022. The PDP insisted that INEC, in declaring the APC Presidential Candidate as the winner, acted contrary to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act 2022, and the INEC Guidelines and Regulations for the conduct of the 2023 Presidential election.
READ ALSO: ECOWAS Urges Nigeria to Address Fuel, Cash Scarcity and Insecurity Ahead of Election
The PDP further asserted that its Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, clearly won the February 25, 2023 Presidential election, having evidently scored the majority of lawful votes cast by Nigerians at the polling units. However, the election was marred by deliberate malpractices, including the non-use of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC’s refusal/failure to transmit directly the results from polling units to its server/website in flagrant violation of Section 60 (4)(b) of the Electoral Act 2022.
The PDP alleged that INEC’s violation of the Electoral Act, as attested to by political parties, voters, Nigerians of all walks of life, as well as local and international observers, paved the way for the alteration, falsification, switching of results, and allocation of figures in favor of the APC. Nigerians can recall how on Friday, November 11, 2022, INEC, through its National Commissioner and Chairman of INEC’s Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, assured that results would be transmitted directly from the polling units to ensure the integrity and credibility of election results in Nigeria.
The PDP noted that the BVAS and IReV have come to stay for voter accreditation and uploading of polling unit results in real-time in Nigeria. By refusing to transmit directly the results from the polling units, INEC violated the Electoral Act and its rules and regulation, compromised the process, and marred the integrity and credibility of the election results.
Consequently, the PDP asserted that, consequent upon the violation by INEC of Section 60 (4) of the Electoral Act, 2022 and its rules and guidelines on the election, the results announced by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, having not been earlier transmitted DIRECTLY from the Polling Units before the announcement are ultra vires, of no consequence and cannot stand.
The statement revealed that the party has initiated legal action over the conduct of the exercise. “Consequently, our party and its Presidential Candidate have commenced an action for legal redress to reclaim our victory in the 2023 Presidential election,” it said. The PDP appealed to its numerous supporters in Nigeria and worldwide to remain calm, resilient, resolute, and steadfast in the defense of democracy and “the victory of our party in the 2023 Presidential elections.”
PDP has rejected the declaration and return of the APC presidential candidate as the President-elect by INEC. The party demanded that INEC immediately withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to the APC flag bearer. The PDP insisted that INEC acted contrary to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999