Declare Election Inconclusive, Conduct Fresh Polls, PDP Urges INEC
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to declare the Saturday’s presidential election inconclusive and conduct fresh polls in areas reported to have been fraught with infractions.
A statement on Tuesday by Daniel Bwala, Spokesman for the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Council, PDPPCC, said the infractions and ensuing criticisms which forced the PDP agents at the National Collation Centre to stage a walkout can not be swept on the carpet.
He said ignoring calls for suspension of collation of results was an invitation to anarchy even as he said available evidence showed the election lacked credibility especially when BVAS was bypassed.
The statement said, “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.
“This has led to a constitutional logjam created by the protest pull out of the coalition of political parties which has now led us to a situation of inclusive elections.
“Elections are only concluded when votes are cast, results are announced and winners returned.
“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 and 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,” the PDP said.
The statement pointed out that, “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, amd 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 section 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 Chairman 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.
“Therefore the options available to the INEC chairman in law , fairness, transparency, equity and good conscience are thus to 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 contains 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 can be uploaded to INEC server, same ONLY BE ANNOUNCED, 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 and 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 in the process and legitimacy of the results must never be sacrificed on the altar of convenience and speed. This election is pivotal to the national security of the country,” the PDP stated.