Nigeria’s main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said it would explore every option, including the legal process to ventilate its grievances on the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as the winner of the 2019 election.
The party which refused to sign the result sheet said the announcement of Buhari who sought re-election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was an abnormality.
Recall that Buhari was declared winner by INEC having scored 15,191, 847 votes to defeat his closest rival, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party who polled 11,262,978 votes.
But in his response, the chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said that the difference in the valid votes and cancellation were insignificant to impact on the general outcome of the election.
According to him, all the observations raised by the PDP would be needed for the future, including the 2023 elections.
While rejecting the declaration of Buhari, an agent of the PDP and former Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Osita Chidoka, told journalists in Abuja at the National Collation Centre on Wednesday morning that the results that were announced do not represent the valid votes of Nigerians.
He said, “The PDP does not accept the result as representing the valid votes of Nigerians. We have made three issues: first, after all the investment in technology, we expected that INEC, after spending N27 billion in this year’s budget alone for technology, would have for the purpose of transparency, not just for law, projected to us the result of what the card reader that they used displayed about the people that went through the card reader verification. That singular act has put a dent on the image of the election.
“The second one is the issue we raised about the number of registered vis-à-vis what the chairman now calls collated voters, which means that 1.6 million people are missing in the voter register. We think that issue is substantial enough to require a resolution.
“We also believed that the difference between the accredited voters and the voter cast which came to about 750,000 requires an issue to be looked at.
Finally, we believed that the cancellations that took place in the election impacting 2.7 million voters required to be looked into seriously.
“So, in our view, this election required to be reviewed, looked at again and possibly, we have a rerun. More importantly, we think that INEC should have looked consciously to the use of the card reader, the absence of card reader is a major violation in the elections, it renders that election null and void, that’s what the chairman promised us.
“So, for us in the PDP, we believe that this is a new low in Nigeria’s electoral history. Since 2015, we believe that Nigeria would have been making progress in the election, but for the violence. The issues that have arisen in this election, and lack of transparency that we saw in the election did not increase, neither did it improve the belief of Nigerians in the electoral process.
“However, the PDP remains a very lawful party, we believe in the law, we believe in the constitution of Nigeria, we are committed democrats. The PDP is a party that entrenched democracy in Nigeria, the PDP is the party that made it possible for Nigeria to enjoy the fruit and dividends of democracy.
“We will continue to support democracy in Nigeria, we will continue to promote democracy in Nigeria. But we have a good message for Nigerians, we want them to remain peaceful, we will explore all our options, including the belief that the legal process in Nigeria is one of the ways to resolve issues.”