Tense wait for Nigeria election results


Nigeria voting

from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
Nigeria Bureau
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – FAKE results are circulating, vote rigging claims mounting and tensions escalating as Nigerians await the outcome of general elections held at the weekend.

Violence, some technology glitches, malpractices and insecurity overshadowed the poll exercise seen as the tightest since the end of military rule in 1999.

On Saturday, millions cast their votes for the president as well as members of the Senate and House of Representatives. Over 93 million had registered to vote in Africa’s largest nation by population, 219 million.

The main opposition, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), alleged plots by some governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of stalling the collation of results in some northern states including Kaduna, Kano, Katsina and Zamfara.

“These desperate governors are allegedly pressuring and blackmailing INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) officials to manipulate the results and transfer massive votes validly cast for the PDP and its Presidential candidate, to the rejected APC and its presidential candidate,” PDP stated.

Femi Fani-Kayode, a spokesperson of the APC presidential campaign, stated buoyantly, “As we wait for the results to be released by INEC, I can tell you that it’s looking good for us.”

The Nigerian Police Force expressed worry over the circulation of alleged and fake elections results on social media and other news platforms, which it noted was contrary to the policy and guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“The police has perceived this trend as a calculated attempt to heat up the polity and possibly create post elections chaos,” said Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the national police spokesperson.

He said law enforcers regarded this as “disservice, unpatriotic and disinformation.”

“The Nigeria Police hereby warns those who are spreading these alleged/fake election results to desist from such mischievous acts and wait patiently for INEC’s official results, which are authentic and tenable,” the police spokesman cautioned.

Adejobi called for calm.

He said the police force had re-enforced security strategies for the smooth conclusion of the general elections.

The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), the umbrella body of registered parties in the West African country, alleged vote rigging and irregularities, including glitches with the newly introduced Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines.

The organisation noted INEC officials were accused of bypassing the use of BVAS machines for accreditation in some parts of the country, especially in the North East and North West, leading to allegations of massive thumb-printing and stuffing of ballot boxes.

“Another very noticeable anomaly is on viral videos where clearly under-aged voters in some states were seen thumb-printing ballot papers in parts of the North,” said CNPP Secretary General, Willy Ezugwu.

He also raised concern at the use of violence to scare voters as well as vote-buying allegations in parts of the country throughout the presidential and national assembly elections on Saturday.

CNPP is demanding that the electoral body to exercise its powers under the law to cancel results of polling units where violence, vote buying or mass thumb-printing of ballot papers reportedly occurred.

“The current delay in announcing the results of the presidential election is even raising more suspicion that INEC has an ulterior motive or is acting a script to produce a particular candidate other than the one voted for by Nigerians”, CNPP stated.

Four candidates were frontrunners in the race to succeed Muhammadu Buhari, president since 2015 but ineligible because of term limits.

These are Bola Tinubu of Buhari’s APC, ex-Deputy President Atiku Abubakar of the PDP as well former PDP governors Rabiu Kwankwaso and Peter Obi of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) and Labour Party respectively.

INEC meanwhile suspended elections in Enugu East after the murder of Labour Party senatorial candidate, Oyibo Chukwu.

The poll has been rescheduled for March 11.

The electoral body owned up to the glitches characterizing is Results Viewing Portal.

“We take full responsibility for the problems and regret the distress that they have caused the candidates, political parties and the electorate,” Festus Okoye, INEC Chairman for Information and Voter Education Committee, said.

Under the constitution, Buhari must transfer power on May 29.

– CAJ News









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