There was a drama at the National Collation Centre of the presidential election yesterday in Abuja as the agents of the Peoples Democratic Party and five other parties staged a walk-out to protest what they termed a breach of collation procedure.
The other parties that walked out are Labour Party (LP), Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Action Peoples Party (APP) and Action Democratic Party (ADP)
However, 11 other parties have dissociated themselves from Monday’s walk-out by some political parties over the procedure for the announcement of collated results of Saturday’s presidential election.
The drama ensued around 4:30pm on Monday at the resumed collation and announcement of results exercise of the February 25 presidential election, which commenced on Sunday, with the announcement of that of Ekiti State, which APC’s Bola Ahmed Tinubu won.
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The agent of the PDP, Senator Dino Melaye, had accused the election umpire of failing to upload the results of the elections on its INEC Results Viewing Portal (iReV) for Nigerians to view them real time.
Melaye said: “The electoral Act 2022 states that election results will be transmitted directly to the server. We found out that this has not been done because INEC failed in this regard.
“When I raised this issue today and supported by other party agents, the INEC chairman vehemently evaded the issue. What section 47(3) emphasises is that wherever the BVAS fails, if they cannot get a replacement, elections should be cancelled in those areas. We have seen from the presentation of results from Ekiti yesterday that some places were cancelled as a result of bypassing the BVAS.
“The only way to detect that BVAS has been bypassed is for us to see the uploaded results. We insisted that the chairman should show us here and now the uploaded results state by state, just like they are projecting the results they are presenting. That is the only way to test the veracity and authenticity of these results.
“If not, we are only here to endorse the fraud that has been done from unit to ward to the state. We are not here to rubber stamp infractions and the anomalies that have been done.
“We are here to check them, but the INEC chairman is not giving us the opportunity to question what they are doing, saying all has been done. What that means is that we are here to rubber stamp. We are going to prove that we are not here to rubber stamp. We have no other country to call our own than this country.
“We are going to do everything humanly possible to make sure that the right thing is done. We have just met now and we are going to make a presentation by the time we resume. If they insist that they are not going to respond to us, then you will see the action we will take.
“But we want to tell you that we will not allow, having suffered pains in this country, having suffered hunger, killings, we will not allow a continuation of failure. We will ensure that the right thing is done.
“The INEC chairman is putting his integrity to the test. Nigerians are watching, the world is watching. Even the dead are watching to see what INEC will do.”
The INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had earlier cautioned Melaye not to be ‘disruptive’ of the collation process at the insistence of the PDP chieftain that the results announced by the State Collation Officer for the Presidential Election (SCOPE) should have first been uploaded on the INEC results viewing portal (iReV) for transparency and accountability.
After his complaint, Melaye led the other parties to stage a walk-out.
However, at the resumption of collation, the agents of 11 political parties of Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Accord Party (AP), Young Progressives Party (YPP), National Rescue Movement (NRM), African Action Congress (AAC), Action Alliance (AA), New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), All Progressive Congress (APC) and Booth party said they were not part of the protest and would want the collated result announcements to proceed and be concluded.
However, in a reaction to the accusation, the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) dismissed the PDP’s claim of over-voting in Saturday’s presidential election in Ekiti State.
The chairman of the commission said there was no over-voting in Ekiti State and the results could even be called under-voting due to the reduction in the number of valid votes compared to the number of accredited voters and Permanent Voter cards (PVCs) collected.
He also said there was no over-voting in Ekiti State as the party agents had appended their signatures in agreement to the result sheets.
The INEC boss said the figure presented by the PDP agent did not emanate from the commission compared to what was presented on Sunday.
Yakubu said while total accredited voters were 315,058; valid votes cast were 308,171; rejected votes stood at 6,301; and total votes cast were 314,472.
Also, Ambassador Jake Epelle of The Albino Foundation (TAF) said while the observation of the aggrieved parties should be addressed, it is not enough to disrupt the exercise.
Daily Trust reports that INEC had earlier said as part of measures it had taken to improve transparency of the polls, the results from the all polling units would be uploaded into its server immediately after the conclusion of the voting exercise and counting of the votes.
It said the results would then be available for anyone who wants to monitor the collation process.