…SAYS INEC’S CONDUCT GENERALLY LEFT NIGERIANS DISILLUSSIONED AND DISAPPOINTED
The Chairman of the Labour Party, Barrister Julius Abure at a World Press Conference he addressed yesterday, 26th of February at the Party’s Headquarters in Abuja called on INEC to cancel the Rivers State elections completely.
Abure stated that the elections held on Saturday, February 25, 2023, where the Independent National Electoral Commission carried out elections nationwide for Presidential and National Assembly position has left millions of Nigerians disappointed and disillusioned because of the unprofessional conduct of state and non-state actors who participated in the process.
He stated that the press conference was to address the serious matters arising from the 2023 election, an extremely important election for Nigeria’s peace and development.
“Yesterday, February 25, 2023, the Independent National Electoral Commission carried out elections nationwide for Presidential and National Assembly position. The exercise has left millions of Nigerians disappointed and disillusioned because of the unprofessional conduct of state and non-state actors who participated in the process. This press conference is to address the serious matters arising from the 2023 election, an extremely important election for Nigeria’s peace and development.
Abure also stated that INEC refused to abide by its published and agreed processes.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by its conduct has caused millions of Nigerians, particularly the teeming youth, who took part in this election with high hopes of a free and fair transparent process to hold strong feelings of disappointment and disillusionment.
“The Electoral Act was amended in 2022 for the electronic transmission of results after they are declared at the polling units.
“Nigerians participated in this process with the belief that the use of technology and adherence to the agreed electronic transmission of results to INEC servers at polling units would ensure a free, fair, and transparent elections.
“Traditionally, Nigerians know that previous elections witnessed manipulations of results by desperate politicians at collation centres and polling units.
“But, yesterday, being Saturday, February 25, 2023, the very process which INEC assured Nigerians would be followed was truncated for whatever reasons. No matter what those reasons are, they are totally unacceptable to Nigerians and members of the party.
“INEC servers shut down and ONLY PRESIDENTIAL elections could not be uploaded on to the INEC server. The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) did not work as planned.
“This failure no doubt has given room for manipulation of the presidential results being announced by the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu at the Collation Centre in Abuja.
The Labour Party Chairman said, the decision of INEC to go ahead to announce these doctored results based on manufactured voting has defeated the efforts made by Nigerians to see that the Electoral Act was amended to allow for electronic transmission of results.
“The decision of INEC to go ahead to announce these doctored results based on manufactured voting has defeated the efforts made by Nigerians to see that the Electoral Act was amended to allow for electronic transmission of results.
“It is disheartening that 24 hours after the elections held across the country that INEC is still yet to upload the authentic results of the Presidential poll on its server.
“The excuse that the server is down is not tenable. Because we had meeting with INEC before the elections and the electoral umpire assured all political parties, and indeed Nigerians, that they had a DATA RECOVERY SERVER and in the event of a technical hitch, the emergency server would be used until the main server was brought back online.
“We find it difficult to accept the flimsy excuse that the INEC servers were down.
“INEC OFFICIALS REFUSING TO UPLOAD PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION RESULTS IN LAGOS AND DELTA STATES”
“We note the impunity which occurred in the entire Lagos State during the conduct of yesterday’s election.
“There were widespread incidences of violence, ethnic profiling, and threats metted out on Nigerians, particularly those who supported the Labour Party and our Presidential Candidate, His Excellency, Mr Peter Obi.
“Information from our party agents has it that in places like Agege, Kosofe, Oshodi-Isolo, Surulere, and Ibeju Lekki, amongst others where results shows that Labour Party won convincingly, the INEC officials claim that the BVAS suddenly developed fault when it concerns uploading results of the presidential election.
“The same INEC officials uploaded the results of the National Assembly elections to the server without hitches. INEC officials used the police to drive our agents and supporters out of the collation centre. And they said that they have firm instruction from INEC headquarters not to upload.
“In Kosofe, they put the collation centre in a Local Government Area Headquarters. The place is surrounded by APC members and people are afraid of their life. They were not uploading the results, they said that they have been given instruction to insist that the BVAS is faulty. And most of the places we won, but they have refused to upload.
“APC officials in Yaba, Agege, Kosofe, Oshodi-Isolo, and Surulere office of INEC were negotiating with the officials. In Ibeju Lekki, Labour Party local government chairman and officials who attempted to stop the rigging were arrested by the police.
On the Rivers State election, the Labour Party Chairman said it was a case of “Electoral Robbery in Rivers and therefore called for an outright cancellation. He also noted that it was a similar case in the occurrence of thuggery and rigging in Delta state just as it happened in Lagos.
“The leadership of the Labour Party is shocked by the revelations emanating from Rivers State after the presidential and national assembly elections which held on Saturday; where thugs believed to be agents of the state government invaded various polling units and collation centres, took away election materials including the results sheets, manipulated the BVAS machines and uploaded fake results in to the Central portal.
“We took particular note of incidences in places like Obio/Akpor, Khana, Eleme, Obigbo, Rumukoro and several other areas where Labour Party was clearly leading in virtually all the polling units with very wide margins.
“Governor Nyesom Wike, faced with stark reality of defeat even in the polling units in his compound in Worji, where LP scored 323 votes against APC and PDP’s 5 and 2 votes respectively, he used the soldiers and police to intimidate, harass, and snatched ballot papers.
“Nigerians went into this election based on the assurances by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC that the deployment of BVAS was a perfect antidote to electoral malpractices in Nigeria, but what transpired across Nigeria, if allowed to stand is purely a betrayal of trust by millions of Nigerians on INEC.
“INEC’s staff were intimidated by these thugs in connivance with the military personnel and police officers who were deployed to protect them, into doing their bidding and were forced to manipulate the BVAS, being afraid of the consequences of their refusal.
“Some of these manipulations happened way into late in the night. We demand that INEC investigate these atrocities against Nigerian voters by the political class.
The Labour Party Chairman based on the above called on INEC to rise to the occasion and cancel all the unverified and manipulated results arising from the presidential and national assembly elections in parts of Rivers state particularly in places like Obio/Akpor, Khana, Eleme, Obigbo and Rumukoro amongst others.
Barrister Aburd called on President Muhammadu Buhari to live up to his promise to Nigerians as millions of Nigerians, particularly, the youth, participated in the 2023 elections with the hope that He would keep to his promise of a free, fair, and transparent election.
“Mr. President must live up to his promise to Nigerians. His legacy is at stake at this pivotal moment in our country’s history.
In conclusion, Abure also called on the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu and INEC to ensure that the wishes of yhe Nigerian people are upheld.
“We also call on the INEC Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu and the commission itself to ensure that the wishes of the people are upheld.
“Let us re-emphasise, the purpose of clearing all doubt, that the Labour Party and our presidential candidate, His Excellency Peter Obi will only accept results which reflect the actual voting results obtained at polling units across the country.