By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has called on the international community and lovers of democracy across the world to hold the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, responsible for the observable manipulations of the collation process in the presidential election held on Saturday, February 25, 2023.
In a statement signed by its Secretary General, Mr Willy Ezugwu, the group blamed the commission for shifting the goal post in the middle of a match, stressing that its decision not to transmit election results from the polling units directly into its server affected the credibility of the exercise.
In the early hours of Wednesday, March 1, 2023, Mr Yakubu declared Mr Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the presidential election, defeating Mr Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP).
The two losers have challenged the victory of the ruling party’s candidate in the presidential poll.
“It is shocking that INEC failed to upload the results to its IREV servers even in urban cities with sufficient Internet network connections across the country.
“We believe, like most observers of the process leading to the declaration of the winner of the presidential election, that the delay in uploading the results of the presidential election in real-time as INEC did in Edo, Ondo and Ekiti states in previous elections was deliberate to ensure the emergence of a predetermined outcome through the manual collation of the presidential election results.
“We, therefore, call on the international community and lovers of democracy worldwide to hold the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, responsible for the observable manipulations of the collation process, especially the presidential election.
“It is on record that the CNPP stood with INEC leadership during the struggle for the amendment of the Electoral Act 2022 to provide for the deployment of technology to deepen democracy in Nigeria,” CNPP said.
The organisation noted that it does not want “to rush into joining issues with some selfish individuals and groups who ignored voter intimidation as well as unexplainable failure on the part of presiding officers employed by INEC to transmit election results from their polling units in real-time despite several assurances that electronic transmission of results has come to stay in the country’s electoral system.”
Meanwhile, the group has called on the judiciary to serve justice to all electoral petitions by aggrieved parties, warning that “the current peace of the graveyard in the country must not be abused.”
“We urge the Nigerian judiciary to do the needful and reject the usual reliance on technicalities to deny litigants justice in election petitions,” the CNPP stated.