ABUJA—THE two leading political parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, were at each other’s jugular, yesterday, over the results of the governorship election in Sokoto, Adamawa, Plateau, Sokoto and the South-South states.
Although both parties were united in criticising the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, over its handling of the polls, they traded accusations over alleged moves to thwart the will of voters in Rivers State, where INEC has halted all electoral processes indefinitely and set up a committee to probe what transpired in the state. The committee’s report is expected today.
The PDP asked the electoral umpire to release the results of the governorship polls in Sokoto, Adamawa, Plateau and Bauchi where its candidates were reported to be leading before the INEC declared the exercises inconclusive.
Warning the commission against manipulating the figures, PDP said the electoral commission was playing the APC’s script to rob it of victory.
The party, which lamented that 58 people were killed during the elections, asked its supporters to protest the non-release of the results in INEC offices in their various states.
Countering the PDP, APC kicked against the results of the governorship election in South-South states, alleging foul play by the PDP in connivance with INEC.
INEC partisan under Yakubu – PDP
Addressing a press conference at the party’s secretariat, yesterday, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said INEC, under the leadership of Professor Mahmood Yakubu, had become overtly partisan, surrendered its independence to the APC and carried on as a compromised umpire with obnoxious impunity, thereby sending signals of being heavily bribed by the APC to alter results for its candidates.
The statement read in part: “The PDP has full intelligence of how INEC is acting on instructions from the Buhari Presidency and the APC in orchestrating unwholesome situations and declaring already concluded governorship elections in Sokoto, Adamawa, Bauchi, Plateau as well as other states as inconclusive, immediately it becomes obvious that the PDP was set to win.
“This also informs the foisting of unexplainable stoppage and delays in the announcement of already collated results in other states where the PDP is clearly leading the race, from the results so far declared at the polling units.
“Our party has also been informed of how INEC is now seeking ways to use the situation to aid the APC to alter the results and announce APC candidates as winners in the elections clearly led by the PDP just as it did in the 2018 Osun State governorship election.
“In some of the states like Rivers, the PDP has information of plots by APC to leverage on the declaration by INEC to unleash more violence in the state and push for isolated election where they can bring in more security forces to concentrate on forcibly taking over the state.
“Already, in Rivers State, INEC is under heavy pressure from the Director General of the Buhari Campaign Organization and Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, to post out and replace the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, as well as the Administrative Secretary.”
It vowed to resist any attempt to alter the figures in Rivers “even if the totality of our nation’s security is deployed to Rivers State.
“This is more so as results of all the state assembly elections in Rivers State have been declared and winners emerged.”
The party further counselled Professor Yakubu to play by the rules by immediately announcing the results in those states without further delay.
It continued: “Professor Yakubu must have noted how his name is becoming synonymous to electoral manipulations, among Nigerians, and the fact that our citizens and international community hold him responsible for the rigging of the Presidential and other elections for the APC.
“Today, majority of Nigerians and the global democratic institutions are questioning the state of our democracy and electoral processes, which have been under siege under the supervision of President Buhari and Professor Yakubu.
“In the light of these INEC’s manipulative tendencies, PDP charges our leaders, teeming members and lovers of democracy in the affected states to immediately commence a march to INEC offices and use all legitimate means to protect our mandate as freely given by the people at the polling units across the nation.’’
Fielding questions from journalists on the sideline of the press conference, the publicity scribe said so far, 58 people had been killed, adding that the party was still carrying out its independent investigation to ascertain the number of its members that lost their lives.
APC accuses INEC of double standard in South-South states
On its part, the APC kicked against the results of governorship election in states of the South-South, alleging foul play by the PDP in connivance with INEC.
National Vice Chairman, South-South of the APC, Ntufam Hilliard Eta, who made the allegation, yesterday, in Abuja, said the ruling party ‘’observed with great disappointment the ugly developments in the just concluded Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections held on Saturday, March 9, 2019, and the subsequent release of results by INEC for states of the South-South geopolitical zone; viz: Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Delta states.”
According to him, the results do not reflect the wishes of the people and are, therefore, rejected by the party.
Asking INEC to immediately conclude all electoral processes in Rivers State, APC stated further:
“We wish to categorically state that the results released by INEC are not a reflection of the wishes and will of the people as they expressed at various polling units.
‘’We have received several complaints to the effect that in areas where our great party held sway and won the elections at the unit levels, the various returning officers of the states, in connivance with agents of the PDP, will cancel results of such areas of our strength.
‘’There are also reports that where elections could not hold due to violence, results are announced in favour of the PDP. Furthermore, in some units where the card readers failed, results are also allocated to such areas, and subsequently announced in favour of the PDP.
‘’Sadly, there are reported cases of ballot box-snatching in areas of APC strongholds, and results are announced in favour of the PDP. It is incomprehensible that INEC could allow themselves to be so used to usurp the collective will of the people and this is equated to a broad day light robbery, and is unacceptable.
“In view of these obvious and aforementioned anomalies and double standards, the APC in the South-South geopolitical zone, rejects outright in its entirety the results declared by INEC for Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Delta states, respectively.
‘’We will do everything legitimately right to ensure that this injustice would not stand and the perpetrators are brought to book.
“Also, we call on INEC to speedily complete the process of conducting free, fair and credible elections in Rivers State in order to calm frayed nerves and douse unnecessary tensions.’’