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28
February
2023

At Joint Briefing, Okowa, Baba-Ahmed Ask INEC To Cancel Elections

The vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ifeanyi Okowa; and his Labour Party (LP) counterpart, Datti Baba-Ahmed have unanimously called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.

Okowa and Baba-Ahmed stated this at a joint briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.

Okowa, who is also the governor of Delta State, said “it is clearly stated in that Electoral Act that all election results must be transmitted at the polling unit level” and that it is only the results electronically transmitted from the polling units that can be collated at the centre.

“If you have not transmitted those results, it means that you have actually not conducted elections under the very law that we all applauded.

“So, the right thing for the INEC chairman to do is to cancel the elections,” the PDP vice-presidential candidate stated.

On his part, Datti Baba-Ahmed adopted Okowa’s position. “I hereby adopt the submission of my brother, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of the PDP,” he said.

“Now, we are witnessing the fact that the next government will be built on outright illegality.”

The LP vice-presidential candidate warned the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu not to promote illegality, saying he should respect the rule of law.

Read full statement:

Being the text of the joint press conference by the Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and Vice Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Dr Datti Ahmed on Tuesday, 28th of February, 2023 at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja

(i) Electronically transmit or transfer the result of the Polling Unit, direct to the collation system as prescribed by the Commission.

(ii) Use the BVAS to upload a scanned copy of the EC8A to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV), as prescribed by the Commission.

(iii) Take the BVAS and the original copy of each of the forms in tamper-evident envelope to the Registration Area/Ward Collation Officer, in the company of Security Agents. The Polling Agents may accompany the Presiding Officer to the RA/Ward Collation Centre.” It is mandatory and compulsory. INEC has no option. So, the failure to upload results and follow the procedures set out in paragraph 38 of the manual made pursuant to the Electoral Act 2022, is a fundamental breach that has the potential of rendering the election results that did not follow those procedures null and void.

For clarity, Section 64 (4) (a) and (b) of the Electoral Act, 2022 specifically provide thus:

“A collation officer or returning officer at an election shall collate and announce the result of an election subject to his or her verification and confirmation that the –

(a) number of accredited voters stated on the collated result are correct
and consistent with the number of accredited voters recorded and transmitted
directly from polling units under section 47 (2) of this Act; and

(b) “votes stated on the collated result are correct and consistent with the votes or results recorded and transmitted directly from Polling Units under Section (60) (4) of this Act”.

Consequent on the above Section 60 (4) of the Electoral Act 2022, any result announced by INEC is ultra vires, illegal, and of no consequence unless they are results already transmitted DIRECTLY from the Polling Units. So procedurally, INEC cannot continue to announce results that are yet to be transmitted as expressly stated in the relevant Sections of the Electoral Act.

The law is that where the law has set out the procedures to be followed, that procedures and no other must be followed.

The argument that INEC guidelines have no force of law is idle and wayward arguments. This is not even the question of alterations of the results. It is a question of non-compliance with mandatory statutory provisions. The argument that it is only when the Chief Electoral Officer of the Federation announces the winner of the Presidential election that the results can be uploaded on the INE C portal cannot be correct. There must be uploading of results at the polling units after the polling officers had announced the winner at the polling units.

Finally, we call on the commission to thread on the path of honour by cancelling the election outright and commence the process of a fresh election that will not only be credible but will be seen to be credible by Nigerians.

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