The Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate in Lagos State, Jimi Agbaje, has berated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the late release of election results in the state.
The presidential and national assembly elections held in Lagos and other parts of the country on February 23. But INEC began releasing the results of the voting in the 20 local government areas and three senatorial districts about two days later.
Mr Agbaje, while addressing a press conference in Lagos on Monday, said the delay in releasing the results was deliberate.
“We have a situation where results are being tampered with. That is not going to be acceptable to us. We will not accept results that have been tampered with in Lagos State,” Mr Agbaje said, according to a statement by Felix Oboagwina, director of media and publicity, Jimi Agbaje campaign organisation.
The results announced at the collation centres in Lagos on Monday showed President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) leading the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s Atiku Abubakar.
According to Mr Agbaje, INEC officials’ delay in releasing voting figures was unpalatable and was an extension of the faulty conduct of elections in several polling areas throughout Lagos.
“The problems started from the polling units. The guidelines were very clear, that after election and counting of votes, election results are supposed to be pasted on the wall at the polling unit. We have no reports that election results were pasted anywhere in Lagos State. That was the beginning of the problem,” Mr Agbaje said.
“At the collation centres, we had a lot of intimidation of our agents. The ruling party had a multiplicity of party agents representing it. We had a situation where officials of the Lagos State government showed up and were represented in their numbers against the lone voices of our agents. We had a situation where our collation agents were arrested, leaving us unrepresented at the collation stage. That again is not acceptable to us.
“We go back to the election day, wherein a lot of cases, we had a situation where the card readers did not function, including my own voting unit. It created a situation where the electoral agents were unable to verify the identity of voters vis-a-vis the PVCs presented.”
Mr Agbaje called on security agents to bring to book those who caused the mayhem in Okota, Coker Aguda, and several other places in the state.
“If we are going to talk about democracy, then we have to practise the culture. It means that everybody will play his part. Voters will come and vote and we have assured them that their votes count.
“Where we disenfranchise many voters then we are just paying lip service to our democracy. We have places where not less than 37 polling units in one local government had their votes cancelled and stolen. And this was done very openly; it is on camera.”
Also speaking at the press conference, Mutiu Shadimu, a member of the House of Representatives for Oshodi-Isolo 1 federal constituency, said voters in his constituency were intimidated on Saturday by hoodlums allegedly led by the Treasurer of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly known as MC Oluomo.
He said traders thought to be loyal to PDP were attacked by the hoodlums and prevented from opening their shops in the popular Oshodi Market, a claim the police dismissed.