APC Constitutes Legal Team to Defend Mandate

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•Commends Atiku Obi for going to court, says they are chasing a mirage

•Insists complaint about electronic transfer of results not supported by law

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Friday said it had constituted a legal team to defend the mandate given to the party and the president elect, Bola Tinubu.

The campaign stated this while addressing a press conference in Abuja, saying it became necessary to respond to both the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, following their separate press conferences which held on Thursday.

The Spokesperson of the Campaign, Festus Keyamo said he was part of the legal team of the ruling party.

According to him, “As I am talking to you, we have constituted our legal team. We are going to court too. Let it not be that they are the only ones going to court. I am part of the legal team.”

Also, Special Adviser on Media and Communication of the APC PCC, Mr. Dele Alake said those who laid claim to democratic credentials are expected to be conscious of those inimitable minimum requirements of law and order even in the face of a perceived injustice. 

He noted that the initial knee-jerk and hothead call for anarchy by their proxies was ill-advised and would in no way serve any noble cause, saying it was good to know that reason has prevailed.

Alake stated: “We must thank the two of them for finally opting for the rule of law as against the initial belligerent posture as they continue their baseless journey of chasing after a mirage.,”

The campaign said the ruling party welcomed the decision of both the PDP and LP and also the NNPP  candidates to test their claims, as ridiculous as they are, in the court of law as provided for by the constitution.

Alake stressed that this was without prejudice to the conciliatory efforts of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. 

His words: “We must say, however, that listening to both Atiku and Obi yesterday left us in the APC family confounded. We understand that there has been an orchestrated campaign by the acolytes of PDP and LP in the media to discredit the Presidential election. 

“What we did not expect is that the two presidential candidates and, indeed, their political parties, would shamefully re-echo the puerile and unimaginative arguments that are being canvassed by political illiterates and mischief-makers who are crying wolf on social media.”

Alake said the two otherwise experienced politicians are pinpointing lack of adherence to the guidelines as basis for discrediting the votes lawfully cast by Nigerians. 

The campaign noted that the claim that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not use the BVAS was false.

Alake explained that those who voted across Nigeria, including Atiku and Obi, were accredited by BVAS. 

He said save for bad losers that Atiku and Obi have proven to be, they should rather be celebrating the tremendous improvement the use of BVAS has brought to the country’s electoral process. 

Alake said the complaint over the electronic transmission of the result was not supported by law.

He added: “Section 38 of the Electoral Acct 2022 referred to by the PDP and LP has nothing to do with transmission of election results. Section 60, Sub-section 2 of the Act deals with transmission of results and it is at the discretion of INEC. The Act does not contain any mandatory provision regarding the transmission of results.

“In any case, the process of transmitting results from polling units, whether real-time, two days later or at any time, cannot in any way change the results that have been announced right after the counting in the presence of the parties’ agents and to the hearing of the voters. It is, therefore, nonsensical to insinuate that time variation in uploading results would cause a change in the figures.”

Alake pointed out that the 2023 Presidential election was a watershed as it produced unprecedented outcomes and defied conventions. 

He said the deployment and use of BVAS was the only reason the elections produced these strange outcomes and upsets in many cases. 

The campaign noted: “The loss of Katsina and Lagos to PDP and LP respectively were contrary to expectations. BVAS brought the intended credibility to voters’ accreditation such that many governors and well-established politicians lost elections in what should be safe bet areas. 

“The era of ghost-voting and stuffing of ballot boxes is gone. As the experience in the last governorship election in Osun State has shown, over-voting would automatically lead to outright cancellation of the results of the polling units based on the provision of the new Electoral Act. 

“The same PDP that is trying to pull the wool across the face of Nigerians was the culprit in the Osun State governorship election. Did they try to do it this time and it failed? Or did they do it in the areas they unexpectedly won? Did they have a grand plan to hack the INEC server if results were uploaded in real time? Nigerians will soon find out.”

Alake stressed that contrary to the false claims of Atiku and Obi, the reasons for losing the elections were foretold, adding that besides the delusional expectations created during the campaigns to hoodwink the public, most PDP leaders knew their party had been decimated by Mr. Peter Obi. 

He said the South East and South South that were traditional strongholds of PDP constituted the core support base for the Labour Party. 

Alake stated: “PDP went into this election without its limbs and lied to itself that it could win the race. It is worthy of note that Atiku also accepted this fact during his press conference yesterday, when he lamented that his party’s votes in the South East and South South regions were carted away by the LP.

“The PDP also found itself in No.3 in Kano, with a former member, Kwankwaso running away with over 900,000 votes.

“How far could the PDP have gone with what was left of it? Not so far as the results of the elections have shown. The members of G65 were key leaders of the party who had substantial political influence. They also went away with their own pound of flesh, leaving a crippled PDP to scavenge for crumps of votes.”

For Obi, Alake said he would go down as Nigeria’s most dangerous and divisive politician, saying he elevated his well-known clannish mentality to a most unfortunate height by openly anchoring his campaign on religion and ethnicity. 

He said Obi presented himself as a poster boy for and a champion of the country’s fault lines and also took advantage of the youths whose expectations are fast paced, who are uninterested in excuses, and who were in search of a hero. 

Alake said Obi pumped up their sentiments and rode on their emotions while grandstanding as a saviour with  a false pretence.

He emphasised that Obi’s credentials are eternally stained as a former governor with no remarkable legacy.

Alake said If Labour Party could not fill up its quota for polling booth agents with a shortfall of over 40, 000, how did it intend to compete with political parties like APC and PDP?

His words: “It would be interesting to see what evidence of rigging Labour Party will present before the court when the party could not appoint agents to monitor nearly a quarter of the venues of election.

“As we look forward to an encounter with both the PDP and LP at the court, we want to enjoin the two of them to pursue their grievances with decorum. They should encourage their members, supporters, and ethnic and religious consultants to follow the path of the rule of law.

“We note that both Atiku and Obi are claiming victory, wouldn’t it make sense for them to agree who the actual winner is before challenging APC in court? Meanwhile, the APC train has left the station as we continue our effort to make Nigeria better for all Nigerians.”

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