The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has itemised 12 alleged malpractices by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that helped Bola Tinubu clinch Nigeria’s presidency.
Mr Tinubu, the president-elect and presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), defeated Atiku in the 25 February presidential election.
The president-elect scored 8.8 million votes to beat Atiku who came second with seven million votes, while Peter Obi of the Labour Party secured the third position after polling 6.1 million votes.
In a petition filed at the Presidential Election Petition Court holding at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, Atiku and the PDP are jointly seeking to upturn Mr Tinubu’s victory.
As co-petitioners, Atiku and the PDP in their complaint filed on Tuesday maintained that Mr Tinubu’s victory “is invalid on account of corrupt practices.”
Itemising the alleged electoral malpractices, Atiku accused INEC of – suppression of votes, manipulation of ballots and ballot boxes, manipulation of BVAS machines, manipulation of accreditation and collation, manipulation of election material(s) delivery.
He listed other infractions to include: manipulation of election material(s) reverse logistics, intimidation and harassment of voters, massive thumb-printing of ballot papers, destruction of electoral materials, hijack of electoral materials, mutilations, cancellations, and overwritings on result sheets as well as inflation, deflation of scores and wrong entries in result sheets.
How polls were manipulated in Sokoto, Borno, Kano, Kogi
Giving details of the malpractices, Atiku said “there was massive suppression of votes” by INEC in several states of Nigeria.
Relying on the ‘Report of the Statistician,’ Atiku said the electoral umpire “cancelled results from 241 polling units in Sokoto State but went ahead to declare results for the presidential election, while declaring the National Assembly” poll that was simultaneously held with the presidential election “as inconclusive.”
The petitioners disclosed that the cancellation of results in Sokoto State affected 301,499 registered voters in 471 polling units cut across Tureta, Yabo, Wamakko, Ngada, Goronye, Isa, Sabon Birni and Tambuwal local government areas.
In Kano State, North-west Nigeria, Atiku claimed that at the conclusion of the presidential election, INEC officials “failed to properly fill in the polling unit booklets containing Forms EC25B – which is the electoral materials/reverse logistics…”
He further accused electoral personnel of failing to “properly fill ballot papers accounting and verification statements.”
But the presidential election in Kano was won by the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) candidate, Rabi’u Kwankwaso, who polled over a million votes.
The petitioners alleged that similar scenarios played out in Kogi State, North-central Nigeria, where infractions occurred at polling stations in – Adavi, Ajaokuta, Ankpa, Bassa, Dekina, Ibaji, Idah, Igalamela-Odolu, Ijumu, Kabba/Bunu, Koton Karfe, Lokoja, Mopa-Muro, Ofu, Ogori/Magongo, Okehi, Okene, Olamaboro, Omala, Yagba East and Yagba West local government areas.
In their filings before the court, Atiku and PDP explained that the failures by INEC “enabled results of the polling units in” Kogi State, “to be manipulated through and by the inflation of” of Mr Tinubu’s “votes and the depletion of” of Atiku’s.
The petitioners pinpointed Adavi LGA of Kogi where polling was allegedly disrupted by Mr Tinubu and APC agents.
To establish the malpractice, Atiku vowed to tender video recording of Mr Tinubu’s agents “who were seen destroying ballot papers in the presence of” INEC officials.
On the issue of voters suppression, Atiku accused APC agents of “cutting off access roads into Okehi LGA to stop the holding of the election … by ensuring that election materials could not be supplied” to eligible voters.
Faulting INEC’s conduct of the election in Borno State, the home state of the vice president-elect, Kashim Shettima, Atiku said the electoral umpire “wrongfully entered incorrect results for” him.
He said electoral officials deliberately by-passed the use of BVAS machines in flagrant violation of the Electoral Act and INEC manual and guidelines for the conduct of the general elections.
READ ALSO: How INEC massively deducted my votes to facilitate Tinubu’s victory Atiku
In the petition filed by Atiku’s legal team headed by Joe-Kyari Gadzama, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), he alleged that INEC failed to substantially comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act and the Nigeria constitution in the conduct of the presidential poll on 25 February.
This newspaper reported that Atiku urged the court to either declare him Nigeria’s president or order a fresh election.
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