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INEC declares Tinubu winner

At exactly 4:10a.m., INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, announced Tinubu the president-elect, putting a fitting finale to a lifelong ambition of the former Lagos State governor, who had summed up his presidential race with the famous Yoruba word, Emilokan. Tinubu will collect his certificate of return at 3:00p.m. later today. Tinubu finished with 8,794,726, nearly two million more votes than his fiercest challengers, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 6,984,520 and Labour Party (LP)’s Peter Obi, who got 6,101,533. The total votes cast was 24,965,218, out of which 939,278 were rejected votes. The drama before the announcement got intense, yesterday, with more protests trailing the conduct of the election. Undaunted by the criticisms, INEC resumed collation of results at the national collation centre in Abuja, releasing the remaining states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). With the latest count, Atiku won 12 states, 

Tinubu also won 12 states and Labour Party (LP)’s Peter Obi got 11 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). However, leaders in the West African sub-region have called on INEC to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 on the collation of results for the presidential and National Assembly elections. Former President Goodluck Jonathan, ex-Ghanaian President John Mahama and other members of the West African Elders Forum (WAEF) Election Mission to Nigeria made this known in a statement yesterday in Abuja. They appealed for calm in the country, while calling on INEC to address the concerns and procedural questions raised so far by different stakeholders. According to them, INEC’s compliance will retain the confidence of Nigerians in the ongoing collation of Saturday’s election results. As part of moves to ensure post-election peace, the elders met with the candidates, including Tinubu, Atiku, Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP). Earlier on Tuesday, the LP, PDP and African Democratic Congress (ADC) said deliberate refusal of the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to respect the upload of results electronically as stipulated by Section 60 of the Electoral Act 2022 is unacceptable.

The three parties said the results so far by INEC showed “monumental disparities” between what the party agents signed at different local government areas in the states and what INEC officials announced in Abuja. They said the manual transmission of results compromised the integrity of the process and demanded a cancellation of the election, while asking the electoral chief to step down. On Monday, party agents had staged a walkout from the national collation centre after Yakubu insisted that the process must continue despite that all the results were not electronically transmitted. Yesterday, the major opposition parties, PDP, LP and ADC have called for Saturday’s election to be cancelled. They also demanded that INEC chairman, Yakubu, step aside for his alleged role in the compromise of the process. Addressing a press conference in Abuja on behalf of other aggrieved political parties, LP chairman, Julius Abure, described the election as a rape on democracy. 

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Abure, who was flanked by PDP National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, ADC National Chairman, Ralph Nwosu, alleged that the election was marred by widespread violence, rigging, intimidation of voters, doctoring of results and violation of the laid down electoral process, which was communicated by INEC. He said: “INEC had announced a process, which would require the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for accreditation and voting and that all results would be electronically transmitted from PUs to INEC Servers.” He added that the process, published repeatedly, announced and agreed with INEC by all political parties, was not followed, thereby leaving room for manipulation of the results after Nigerians had voted. According to him, the results announced by INEC, so far, showed monumental disparities between the actual results reported by party agents, party members, and indeed millions of Nigerians, on election day from the PUs. Toeing same line, NNPP said INEC, under Yakubu, has taken the country back to pre-2014 era, where ballot-snatching, vote buying, connivance of security agents among other ills were the order of the day. The party, therefore, called for the immediate cancellation of Saturday’s presidential election. NNPP’s national chairman, Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali, who stated this at a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, said the election was marred by various irregularities ranging from vote buying, violence, voters’ disenfranchisement, BVAS malfunction, among others. 

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“We have returned to the era where people who do not participate in an election are declared winners of the election. For instance, in Kano, Ibrahim Shekarau, who formally resigned from NNPP, withdrew from the race, registered with the PDP, conveyed same to the party and to INEC, but the Commission went ahead to declare him winner of an election under NNPP. He observed that the embarrassing decision of INEC to close down the iReV Server might not be unconnected with the widespread failure of the BVAS across the country. 

He noted that in majority of the Polling Units (PUs) across rural communities, the BVAS machine failed to work. “This very action of colluding with the ruling party and returning to manual transmission has completely compromised the elections. Results were intercepted and changed between PUs and Wards collation centres, between Wards collation centres and Local Government collation centres, and between Local Government collation centres and State collation centres. “To save our democracy, the election results must not be accepted by Nigerians and by all friends of Nigeria. We are, therefore, calling for the immediate suspension of the announcement of result and its collation. New election should be conducted as soon as possible.”