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Protest: LP, Atiku-Okowa tackle APC over sore losers’ comment
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Protest: LP, Atiku-Okowa tackle APC over sore losers’ comment

Following the controversy that greeted the outcome of the February 25 presidential election, the All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential Campaign Council, APC PCC, yesterday, described the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP

  • PublishedMarch 8, 2023

Following the controversy that greeted the outcome of the February 25 presidential election, the All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential Campaign Council, APC PCC, yesterday, described the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Labour Party, LP, as sore losers.

This came as the Presidential Campaign Council of the Labour Party said yesterday that the fact that the APC is still shopping for endorsements after claiming victory in the presidential election is evidence that the party is aware Tinubu’s victory was a farce.

This is even as Atiku-Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation said its rejection of the results of the presidential elections as announced by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, was borne out of patriotism and in the interest of democracy.

“Meanwhile, the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, of the APC, expressed his readiness to defend his election victory in court.However, speaking on BBC’s Focus on Africa, APC PCC’s Special Adviser on Communications and Public Affairs, Mr. Dele Alake lampooned the PDP and its candidate for embarking on the protest against the victory of APC in the presidential election, saying they were being melodramatic about it.

His words: “I think it is well within Atiku’s human rights to voice out his misgivings over his loss of the election but I would say that it is a better alternative than going on the streets.

“We welcome any aggrieved party to take its grievances to the judiciary and seek succour. That is what decent people do in different societies. For Atiku to be protesting and being melodramatic about it is also normal.

‘’Don’t forget that Atiku has been contesting for the presidency of this country since 1993, exactly 30 years ago. He has contested every presidential election in Nigeria and he has lost everyone since 1993 and this will not be different.

On alleged manipulation of the exercise, he said: “It is within his rights to protest as long as it is peaceful. However, as regards the allegation, he is not correct.

“The major plank of their complaint is that INEC did not upload the result to the server in real-time.

“That is the major plank of their incredulous allegation but that is also not supported by law. I am taken aback that otherwise enlightened and educated people are not analysing this issue.

“The law does not mandate INEC to upload. It is not a compulsion, it is an option. Uploading or not uploading the result does not affect the validity of the result

“Once results are declared at the various polling centres, the ballot is counted in the presence of all the voters, figures are tallied and the winner is announced, all the agents sign the result sheet, it is immaterial because it does not affect the validity of the results that have been announced publicly at every polling station. These people did not read the Electoral Act. It is not correct in law.

“It is non-compliance when you have only one option but when you have two options, the clause of non-compliance could be brought up.

“I am saying that since it is not the only available option to INEC, then, it cannot stand in court.

“They are just using propaganda and because it suits some people, they swallow it hook, line and sinker.

“In any case, there is no federal election, except that of Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, from 1960 till date that was not disputed in Nigeria. So, what is the difference between this one? None.

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“They are just sore losers. Let us look at this scenario; this is the best election since 1999. If Bola Tinubu could rig elections, couldn’t he have rigged it in his home state?

“Where the Labour Party and PDP won, the election was okay but where they lost, there were irregularities. What kind of logic is that?”

APC desperate—LP

Reacting to Alake’s submission, the Presidential Campaign Council of the Labour Party has said the fact that the APC is still shopping for endorsements after claiming victory in the presidential election is evidence Tinubu’s victory is a farce, saying the ruling party is desperate.

A spokesperson for the LP PCC, Dr Tanko Yunusa, said: “Never in our recent history do you find a party which claims to have won an election shopping for validation weeks after the victory.

“Here we have the APC, a ruling party running from pillar to post begging people at home and abroad to endorse the outcome of a sham in the name of an election.

“Our candidate is a full-blooded democrat who subscribes to the tenets of democracy that is why he is challenging the process which the whole world knows was flawed in every material particular.

“If we had lost in a free and credible process my principal would have been the first person to call and congratulate the winner.

“Like he said a few days ago if you desire to be referred to as His Excellency, the process by which you come to power must be excellent. Tinubu and the whole APC know they didn’t win a fair contest and the INEC knows it breached its own rules, we are going to court to prove, Alake and all those who think like him should enjoy their short-lived victory while it lasts.”

Accepting Tinubu’s sham victory is akin to celebrating criminality —Atiku-Okowa

On its part, the Atiku-Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation said its rejection of the results of the Presidential elections as announced by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, was born out of patriotism and in the interest of democracy.

Spokesperson of the PDP Presidential Campaign, Kola Ologbondiyan, told newsmen that APC’s victory is temporal.

Ologbondiyan said: “It is curious that even the man claiming to have won the election and his party are not celebrating their so-called victory because they know it’s temporal.

“The triumph of evil over good is temporal. What the Independent National Electoral Commission did cannot stand anywhere in the world. The APC and its candidate know this that is why they are in panic mode.

“For us in the PDP, we are on the side of the Nigerian people who were robbed of their right to elect their leader. Voter intimidation and falsification of results were widespread; there were substantial breaches of the Electoral Act by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

“The INEC chairman lied to Nigerians and led the commission to commit a heinous crime against citizens by first building their hope of a transparent process only for him to violate same most brazenly.

“The APC can deceive itself all it wants but the will of Nigerians and true friends of this great country will triumph at the end of the day. On this, our hope is renewed. While we take the battle to right this wrong to court, we pray that Nigerians who have lost or are losing faith in our democratic process have a rethink in the interest of democracy and the survival of our dear nation.”

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I’ll defend my victory, Tinubu tells court

However, the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday expressed his readiness to defend his election victory in court.

Tinubu and his party approached the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, praying it to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to grant them access to sensitive materials it used for the presidential election that held on February 25.

Cited as respondents in two exparte applications marked: CA/PEC/05m/23 and CA/PEC/06m/23, which Tinubu filed before the court, were INEC and his two major contenders, Mr Atiku Abubakar of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Mr Peter Obi of  Labour Party, LP, who came second and third, respectively, in the election.

Both Atiku and Obi were equally joined as respondents in ex-parte motions marked: CA/PEC/07m/23 and CA/PEC/08m/23, which were filed by the APC. All the motions were supported with affidavits of urgency.

Specifically, Tinubu, through his lawyer, Mr Akintola Makinde, said he would need to inspect, scan and make photocopies of the electoral materials to enable him to prepare his defence against petitions that both Atiku and Obi will lodge to challenge his election victory.

“The materials will be relevant in helping us to prepare our defence and also make a comparison with the information contained in INEC’s back-end server”, Makinde told the court.

Counsel for the APC, Mr Omosanya Popoola, also urged the court to permit the party to also obtain copies of the sensitive materials from the electoral body.

The applications came on a day both Obi and Atiku urged the court to refuse INEC’s request to be allowed to reconfigure the  Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, it used for the presidential election.

INEC had insisted that the reconfiguration is necessary since the BVAS would also be deployed for the next round of elections — Governorship and State Assembly elections billed for Saturday, as well as other rescheduled elections.

It maintained that without a prompt variation of the order the court earlier granted to Obi and Atiku, especially the aspect restraining it from tampering with formation contained in the BVAS, it would be difficult for it to proceed with the scheduled elections.

Labour Party files fresh application

However, shortly after INEC, through its team of lawyers comprising four Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN, led by Mr. Tanimu Inuwa, urged the court to vary the order, Obi and his party, in a fresh application marked: CA/PEC/09m/23, sought permission to be allowed to conduct a physical inspection of all the BVAS used for the presidential poll.

Obi and LP, through their team of lawyers led by Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, said the essence of the application is to enable them to extract data embedded in the BVAS, “which represent the actual results from Polling Units”.

They specifically applied for; “leave to carry out a digital forensic and physical inspection of BVAS, etc”, as well as to obtain the Certified True Copy, CTC, of all the data in the BVAS.

“My lords, this is to ensure that the evidence is preserved before the BVAS are reconfigured by INEC. This is because if they are wiped out, it will affect the substance of our case”, Ikpeazu, SAN, added.

Counsel that represented Atiku and the PDP, Mr Emeka Etiaba, SAN, said he filed a similar application, though it was not heard owing to a counter-affidavit by INEC which he sought time to respond to.

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Meanwhile, INEC’s legal team urged the court to dismiss the fresh application by Obi and the LP, insisting that granting the request will affect its preparations for the impending Governorship and National Assembly elections.

It told the court that there were a total of 176, 000 BVAS deployed to polling units during the presidential election.

“Each polling unit has its own particular BVAS machine which we need to configure for the forthcoming elections.

“It will be very difficult for us, within the period, to reconfigure the 176, 000 BVAS.  We have already stated in our affidavit that no information in the BVAS will be lost as we will transfer all the data in the BVAS to our back-end server.

“We need the BVAS configured. So, granting this application will be a clog in the process and may delay the conduct of the elections”, INEC’s lawyer, Inuwa, SAN, pleaded.

After it had listened to all the parties, a three-member panel of the appellate court, led by Justice Joseph Ikyegh, adjourned all the applications till today for ruling.

It will be recalled that the panel had in a ruling it delivered last Friday, granted Obi and Atiku the nod to have access to all the sensitive materials the INEC deployed for the conduct of the presidential election.

The duo maintained that the requested documents would aid their petition against the outcome of the presidential contest that was declared in favour of the candidate of the APC, Tinubu.

More so, Obi and Atiku obtained an order from the court granting them leave to file the application, outside or before the pre-hearing session of the planned substantive petitions.

The order read in part: “That the 1st Respondent, that is INEC is hereby directed to allow the Applicants to inspect all the electoral materials used in the conduct of the Election for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria held on the 25th day of F-phrl

“That the Applicants are hereby permitted to do electronic scanning and/or make photocopies of Voter’s Registration, Ballot Papers used in the conduct of the election for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria held on the 25th day of February 2023.

“That leave is hereby granted to the Applicants to carry out Digital Forensic Inspection of BVAS machines used for the conduct of the February 25, 2023 election for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Other Justices on the three-member panel of the appellate court that granted the applications, were Justices Haruna Simon Tsammani and James Gambo Abundaga.

INEC had declared Tinubu of the APC as the winner of the presidential poll, ahead of 17 other candidates that contested the election.

According to INEC, Tinubu scored a total of 8,794,726 votes to defeat Atiku who polled a total of 6,984,520 votes and Obi of the LP who came third with a total of 6,101,533 votes.

Both PDP and LP had since rejected the outcome of the election and vowed to challenge it in court.

Under the Electoral Act 2022, any candidate dissatisfied with the return made by the INEC, shall within 21 days after the date of the declaration of the result of the election, file a petition before the tribunal.

An election tribunal shall deliver its judgement in writing within 180 days from the date the petition was filed.
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