By Emmanuel Uffot
The Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has vowed to challenged the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC as the winner of last Saturday Presidential Election.
Atiku who made his intention known in the early hours of Wednesday February27 shortly after the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Yakubu Mamood declared Buhari winner has unequivocally rejected the result saying that the election was not only marred by targeted violence at PDP strongholds specifically in the South-South and South-East but the results were premeditated . Atiku who has advised aggrieved Nigerians to remain calm as he seeks redress in court insist that his mandate from Nigerians has been stolen and given to President Buhari.
It could be recalled that on Monday February 26, 48 hours after the election the PDP candidate had warned INEC not to tamper with the advanced result he said is in PDP disposal which favours him and had asked the election umpire to expedise action and declare him winner of the poll.
The first misgivings of the PDP as the results were rolling out was about the result of Nassarawa State which in previous elections has always voted the PDP. The PDP had noted that Nassarawa State results among some already out did not tally with the computation the party has and had question INEC insisting that the result of the North Central State has been tampered with.
Indeed supporters of Atiku and political who have followed the pattern of previous election seem to also share the sentiments of the PDP on Nasarawa that the state and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have always voted for PDP wondering why this election is different even when the party not won FCT but even won in Aso Villa where President Buhari resides.
PDP members and supporters believed the rigging machinery put in place by the ruling APC include disfranchising voters in PDP states and units in APC states like Lagos dominated by non-indigenes, intimidation of voters and disruption of polls in PDP prone areas especially in Lagos, South-South and South-East.
For instance there were several reported cases of election violence in Rivers State, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Plateau, Benue and Lagos. Also disturbing is the allegation by the Governor of Rivers State Nyesom Wike that the Military Command in the state spearheaded by the GOC worked in consert with the APC thugs to intimidate voters, snatch ballot boxes and disrupt election in some parts of the state where the PDP were holding sway. Wike who blamed the disenfranchisement of the legion of voters in the state on military/APC instigated violence which led to loss of lives has vowed to institute a case against the GOC/ Military high command in the state in International Court of Justice.
In the case of Lagos, there were reported cases of intimidation, harassment of voters and disruption of election in areas like Ojo, Okota, Ajegunle, Surulere, Ajeromi Ifelodun and Amuwo Dofin dominated by non-indigenes like the Ibos and South-South.
The PDP Presidential candidate has equally bemoaned the glaring suppressed votes in his party’s strong holds as against the quantum of votes recorded in APC catchment areas. A development he described as rather amateurish and shameful. He particularly pointed at votes recorded in Akwa Ibom state a stronghold of PDP since 1999 which was 50 percent lower than what was recorded in 2015.
He said the low turnout votes in PDP areas was part of the premeditated rigging strategy of the ruling party which he alleged was hatched long before the election.
Alhaji Atiku Abubarkar like other PDP members and supporters wondered how come Boko Haram prone areas and those that have witnessed wanton killings and destruction of properties which led to residents fleeing many communities and states would record very high turnover of votes quite more than the relatively peaceful areas in the South.
For instance, political analysts have equally toe the line of reasoning of the Turaki Adamawa on the mind boggling high turnover of votes in places like Yobe, Jigawa, Borno, Zamfara and Kaduna. As well as other states like Bauchi, Kebbi, Kano, Niger and even Kwara that has a political heavy weight like The Senate President Bukola Saraki. Atiku like other discerning politicians and politically minded Nigerians find it difficult to believe how Lagos which recorded the highest PVC collection close to 6 million could only record less than 1.5 million accredited voters. The PDP believe this appalling low figure in a metropolitan state like Lagos that have over 40 percent voters strengt of
Going by the result, Buhari garnered a total of 15,191, 847 million votes to defeat Atiku who polled 11, 262, 978 representing over 3.9 million votes separating the President and his major challenged. Indeed those that have questioned the result not reflecting the perception of Nigerians about the Buhari led government and the performance of PDP in some states in this election compared to 2015 easily pointed at how Buhari would have won in states like Nasarawa which has always toe PDP. Again PDP won states like Benue, Plateau and Oyo that in 2015 went to APC and lost with slim margin in all the South-West states inspite of the over bearing influence Bola Tinubu.
Those aggrieved by the result apart from the PDP flag bearer frowned at the huge votes from Katsina the home state of the president and Kano which has a notable PDP heavy weight like Rabiu Kwakwanso with little voided votes as against Adamawa where Atiku which he just managed to win APC with a slim margin.
It is worthy of note that ahead the election, the opposition were very consistent in their allegation that INEC and the security agencies were working in tandem with the ruling party to rig the election for Buhari. They has also consistently pointed at the outcome of some governorship elections like Ekiti, Osun, Edo and Ondo and said that Professor Mamood cannot be trusted to conduct a credible election. Even former President Olusegun Obasanjo had said that he does not believe that INEC as headedc by Mamood would conduct a credible election. What had fuelled the lack of confidence on INEC by the main opposition party and other Nigerians was the questionable deployment of Amina Zakari to head the presidential collation committee. Zakari is known to be the president’s niece. Also the president’s refusal to to sign the amended Electoral Bill a record three times he had received it from the senate was read by political followers as an indication that the ruling party has already perfected a rigging plot which signing the Electoral Bill will alter.
As the president has received the Certificate of Return amidst mixed reactions from Nigerians, most of whom expressing discontent with the outcome, Nigerians are waiting to see what will become of the fireworks in the presidential election Tribunal as Atiku is already assembling his/the party legal team to contest the outcome of the polls which he believed he won.
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