• Tinubu leads after collation, may be declared winner

    Tinubu leads after collation may be declared winner - nigeria newspapers online
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    The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is set to be declared the winner of the 2023 presidential election after polling 8,805,420 votes in the February 25th election.

    A tally of the votes announced by electoral officials from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory at the national collation centre in Abuja showed Tinubu led his closest challenger, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, by no fewer than 1.8 million votes.

    At the end of the collation and announcement of election results on Tuesday, Atiku polled 6,984,290 votes to place second, while the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, came third with 6,093,962 votes.

    The trio won in 12 states each.

    This is as the APC and its presidential candidate, Tinubu, filed a suit to restrain the Labour Party and the PDP from stopping the collation and announcement of the results of the February 25 presidential election.

    In the suit instituted before the Federal High Court in Kano and marked FHC/KN/CS/43/2023, the vice presidential candidate of the APC, Kashim Shettima, was listed as the plaintiff while the Action Alliance and the Independent National Electoral Commission were also joined as defendants.

    In a motion on notice filed alongside the originating summons before the federal high court, Kano, the plaintiffs asked the court to make an order restraining the defendants from stopping the collation and announcement of the results.

    Listed as 1st to 4th defendants in the suit marked FHC/KN/CS/43/2023 were the Action Alliance, Labour Party, Peoples Democratic Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission, while the vice presidential candidate of the APC, Kashim Shettima, was also listed as a plaintiff.

    The plaintiffs stated that “damages will not adequately compensate for the injury that may be occasioned on the Plaintiffs if the Defendants stop the collation of the result.”

    In the motion on notice, the plaintiffs are seeking an “order of interim injunction restraining the 1st to 3rd defendants, their privies, agents, associates, assigns, sympathizers, supporters or any other person described from taking any step that is capable of preventing the 4th Defendant from completing the process of the conduct of the Presidential election held on 25” February 2023 which includes the collation and announcement of the result of the presidential election duly collated and announced by the State Collation Officers of the 36 State of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, pending the hearing and determination of the plaintiff/applicant’s substantive suit”.

    The plaintiffs also stated that the 1st to 3rd defendants staged a walkout from the collation centre adding that “the former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has also issued a statement calling on the Defendants to stop the collation of the result”.

    They further stated that the “suit raises serious issues of law which have bright chances of success” and “that the Plaintiffs undertake to pay damages to the defendants if this order ought not to have been made”.

    “That this matter is one that requires urgency in order to preserve the said subject matter of this suit as the Defendant will not in any way be prejudiced by the grant of same”

    Meanwhile, the results have been released in the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory. In the result released on Tuesday evening in Borno State, Tinubu polled 252,282 votes across the 27 local government areas and was declared the winner by the state Collation Officer, Prof. Jude Rabo.

    Atiku and Obi could only garner 190,921 votes and 7,205, respectively while Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party amassed 4,626 votes.

    In Rivers State, Tinubu raked in 231,591 votes from 23 LGAs while the LP scored 175, 071 votes and the PDP polled 88, 468 votes.

    The Federal Capital Territory, however, proved to be a game changer for the Labour Party, which floored both Tinubu and his PDP counterpart.

    Obi’s popularity in Abuja fetched him 281,717 votes while the former Lagos governor and the former VP shared the remaining slots of 90,902 votes and 74,149 respectively. Kwankwaso also polled 4,517 votes.

    But Tinubu made up for his losses in some northern and middle belt states which included Zamfara, Kwara, Kogi, Benue and Kogi States.

    In Benue, the APC amassed 310,468 votes to relegate LP (308,372), PDP (130,081) and NNPP (4,740) to second, third and fourth places.

    In Zamfara State, he polled 298,396 votes against LP’s 1,660; NNPP’s 4,044 and the PDP’s 193,978 votes.

    As expected, Obi soared above other candidates in Plateau where he won by 466,272 votes compared to APC’s 307,195; PDP’s 243,808 while NNPP settled for 8,869 votes.

    The states won by Tinubu so far include Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Kwara, Ekiti, Kogi, Benue, Zamfara and Jigawa, while Atiku emerged victorious in Bauchi, Yobe, Gombe, Kaduna, Kebbi, Bayelsa, Adamawa and Akwa Ibom.

    On the other hand, Obi has won Lagos, Enugu, Cross River, Nasarawa, Imo, Anambra, Abia, Delta and Plateau states as well as the FCT

    Meanwhile, INEC has advised aggrieved political parties to seek legal redress if not satisfied with the electoral process rather than cause chaos across the country.

    Some opposition parties led by the PDP on Monday asked the electoral commission to suspend the vote counting and probe the failure of its officials to upload the results at the polling units.

    They complained about widespread discrepancies in the results of the polls and also accused INEC of violating the Electoral Act by going ahead with the result collation and announcement despite failing to upload the results on the Results Viewing Portal.

    In his response, the INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, asked them to wait till the end of the collation exercise to present their complaints, but dissatisfied with his answer, the PDP, the Action Alliance, African Democratic Congress and others staged a walkout during the announcement of results at the National Collation Centre, International Conference Centre, Abuja.

    But addressing the issue on Tuesday, INEC pushed back against calls from the PDP, LP and others that the results collation exercise should be suspended, insisting that the election was free and fair.

    The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi argued that ‘’the results emanating from the states point to a free, fair and credible process.”

    He stated that the demand for the resignation of the INEC chairman was out of place.

    He, however, urged the parties to allow the conclusion of the electoral process and if not satisfied, they could approach the court.

    He noted, “The call by the Labour Party and the Peoples Democratic Party on the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to resign is misplaced. The allegation by Dino Melaye that the INEC Chairman allocated scores to parties is unfounded and irresponsible.’’

    In continuance of its clamour, the Atiku-Okowa presidential campaign of the PDP has asked the electoral commission to declare the presidential election inconclusive.

    The presidential campaign also asked the electoral umpire to fix a date for the conduct of the election that addresses polling units where the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System was not used and areas marred by violence.

    In a statement by its spokesperson, Daniel Bwala on Tuesday, the council asked INEC to “Declare this election inconclusive and set a date for the conduct of elections that addresses areas where BVAS was not used and where violence occurred which suppressed the voting rights of the people.’’

    The campaign spokesman further remarked that INEC should “Suspend national collation immediately and address the complaints raised by parties relating to BVAS bypass and electronic transmission of results.

    “Set a date for the conduct of elections in the affected places and ensure results are uploaded as contained in the guidelines. The said elections must be free and fair and BVAS used accordingly.

    “Cancel all the collated and announced results so far until such a time when all the results collated at the polling units alone be uploaded to INEC server, same only announced, duplicate copies of which all party agents have for transparency sake.’’

    Also addressing a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, the PDP, the Labour Party and the African Democratic Congress called on the international community to note that the results being declared at the National Collation centre were ‘heavily doctored and manipulated” and did not reflect the wishes of Nigerians.

    Speaking on behalf of other party chairmen, the LP National Chairman, Julius Abure vowed that his party would not be a part of the process currently going on at the National Collation Centre.

    He demanded the cancellation of the results without further delay.

    In a related incident, the Senate on Tuesday had a rowdy session over the collation of the results of the presidential and National Assembly election.

    The Senator representing Kwara Central, Ibrahim Oloriegbe, citing Orders 41 and 51 presented a motion on the need to call for calm and appeal to political parties, stakeholders and Nigerians to abide by the rule of law on the electoral process in the just concluded election.

    He was backed by other APC senators who argued that it was important for the highest legislative body to bring calm to the raging storm among the political parties.

    In his submission, Senator Sani Musa said that since Nigerians did not vote electronically, asking INEC to release results in real-time was unnecessary because the Electoral Act didn’t mandate the electoral umpire to do so.

    Musa said, “It is very clear that accreditation and verification are to be done by the BVAS. We are not voting electronically for that real-time transmission to happen. Transmission can only happen after it has been published on BVAS. So it is not real-time. We are not a court to interpret but INEC has a responsibility to stick to guidelines.’’

    Similarly, Ekiti Central senator, Opeyemi Bamidele charged the electoral umpire to do the right thing based on the Electoral Act.

    He said Nigerians should be patient for INEC to complete the process while also calling on the judiciary to do the right thing.

    However, the session became rowdy when the opposition senators led by Betty Apiafi ( PDP Rivers West) said it was wrong to bring up the issues at such “a critical time.”

    She added that it wasn’t the place of the senate to prescribe what the guidelines should be.

    While the APC senators clamoured for the motion and the prayers to be heard, the opposition senators disagreed.

    The Senator representing Benue North West, Emmanuel Orker-Jev (PDP), supported his colleague, stating that it was best for the Red Chamber to maintain neutrality on the issue.

    He said, “The best way is to step down this order because if we are already generating this kind of controversy, imagine what will happen out there.”

    Buttressing the Benue lawmaker’s point, Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa ( PDP, BauchiNorth), also noted that the Senate should steer clear of the issues due to the controversy.

    He said, “Whatever happens in the collation centre and the social media, the Senate should not be involved in it.

    “We passed the Electoral Act and for goodness sake, if we don’t step this motion down, there will be endless controversy on party lines and God knows what it will generate in the public.”

    Also, the deputy minority, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, said, “I think we have exhaustively looked at issues concerned here. As a parliament, it is our duty to stabilize the polity to calm the nerves of people that are agitated as a result of the last election on 25th February.

    “We are here to appeal to our people to follow the law and we are asking all the agencies of government to follow what the law stipulates.”

    In her contribution, Anambra Central senator, Uche Ekwenife added that “This is a very controversial matter; everywhere is tense, and people are very apprehensive. The only way out of it is for INEC to stick to the Constitution and the Electoral Act. INEC should stick to their guidelines. That is the only solution.”

    Ekiti South senator, Biodun Olujimi said, “This process is still an ongoing process and INEC should follow its guidelines and the electoral law. We should not ignite violence and the best way is to ask everybody to maintain peace and order while we go through this process and finish it properly.”

    However, in submission, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan explained the electoral process, saying, “In the Electoral Act that we passed, there is nothing like the electronic transmission. What we have passed is to transfer after all the paper works that we normally do while the agents and everybody there have the papers.

    “INEC will now scan or snap the result sheets and transfer them. We urge INEC to follow the Electoral Act and other laws on their guidelines.”

    He added, “In this chamber, we are not going to interpret the Electoral Act. This is not a court of law. We are just to guide this debate and talk about the general principles of how this election and declaration should be done. There is no need to stress ourselves. What we are doing is to urge INEC to follow the law and the citizens should be calm.”

    Lawan said the right thing is that anyone who was not satisfied with the verdict of INEC should go to court.

    In a related development, some demonstrators on Tuesday asked INEC to keep to its promise of using electronic transmission of results.

    The protest leader, Ilemona Onoja, explained that their major demand is for the INEC chairman to fulfil his pledge of a free, transparent and open process.

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