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By; Leon Usigbe – Abuja
The Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organization Campaign on Tuesday advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to suspend the ongoing collation of the results of the presidential election until after addressing the concerns raised by political parties.
The position was made known in a statement issued by its spokesman, Dr Daniel Bwala, which pointed out that the conduct of the 2023 elections has been criticized across board as one that is marred by irregularities and total departure from the electoral act amendment.
It observed that this has led to a constitutional logjam created by the protest pull out of the coalition of political parties “which has now us to a situation of inclusive elections.”
While noting that elections are only concluded when votes are cast, results are announced and winners returned, the statement said: “What is clear and undisputed to all at this stage is that INEC is refusing to address the observed problems and objections that have been widely expressed and shared and also corroborated by the report of the major stakeholders in the country, former presidents and international observers. What is not clear is the intentions of INEC chairman amd INEC as a commission. “Section 65 of the electoral act mandates the INEC chairman to correct every anomaly(s) raised by stakeholders of the process (political party and their agents) within 7 days.
“For avoidance of doubt the electoral act is clear and unambiguous to the effect that the anomalies MUST BE CORRECTED BEFORE THE FINAL DECLARATION OF RESULTS AND RETURNS, and NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND.
“So, INEC should desist from any interpretation that will mislead the political parties, because pushing the review after final declaration is tantamount to exercise in futility and planned attempt to sidestep sectiom 65 and the very reason for its provision in the electoral act in the first place.
“This section was largely objected to by APC lawmakers and lawyers during the amendment process before it was eventually passed into law. So let’s be clear, the election is inconclusive and the INEC Chairmam cannot proceed without the political parties being present to object or accept the results at the national collation exercise.
“No court of law hears and determines a matter in the absence of necessary parties.”
The statement listed the choices in law that the Chairman of the electoral body, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has to make in “fairness, transparency, equity and good conscience.”
It, therefore advised INEC on the choices, saying: “Suspend national collation immediately and address the complaints raised by parties relating to BVAS bypass and electronic transmission of results.
“Set a date for conduct of elections in the affected places and ensure results are uploaded as contained in the guidelines. The said elections must be free and fair and BVAS used accordingly
“Cancel all the collated and announced results so far until such a time when all the results collated at the polling units alone be uploaded to INEC server, same ONLY ONE ANNOUNNCED, duplicate copies of which all party agents have for transparency sake
“Declare this election inconclusive and set a date for conduct of elections that addresses areas where BVAS was not used amd where violence occurred which suppress the voting rights of the people
“Address the Nigerian public in a televised speech on the sanctity of the processes and integrity of his person to regain the confidence of the Nigerian people and the international community.
“Confidence of the process and legitimacy of the results must never be sacrificed on the alter of convenience and speed. This election is pivotal to the national security of the country.”
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