Prof. Attahiru Jega, INEC Chairman
By Ike Abonyi, Chuks Okocha in Abuja, John Shiklam in Kaduna and Charles Ajunwa in Lagos
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Returning Officer in last Saturday’s presidential election, Prof. Attahiru Jega, Monday night declared President Goodluck Jonathan winner of the exercise.
Jonathan, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was declared president-elect at exactly 8.30pm.
He polled 22,495,187 votes to beat his closest rival and candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.), who polled 12,214,853 votes.
Jega added that Jonathan also scored the minimum 25 per cent of votes cast in 31 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The INEC chairman also said Buhari scored the minimum 25 per cent of the votes cast in 16 states and the FCT.
He said: “I hereby certify that I was the returning officer in the presidential election held on April 16, 2011. I also certify that the election was held, I hereby declare Dr. Goodluck E. Jonathan as winner of the election.”
The result was announced amidst tight security with the visit of the Commander, Brigade of Guards, Brig-Gen. Emmanuel Atewe, and another Air Commodore, whose name could not be ascertained, at the centre with troops; heightening fears of security problem.
THISDAY gathered that the visit of the security operatives was precipitated by fears of plans by some politicians who were allegedly working to make the election inconclusive and also to find out why the release of the result was rather delayed.
Concerns heightened when INEC officials from Borno, Taraba and Yobe States, who were said to have left their stations for Abuja on Sunday, but were not at the INEC headquarters by 5pm Monday. The Taraba officials, who were also expected in Abuja, were said to have flown to Maiduguri.
THISDAY also learnt that Jega rebuffed pressures on him to declare Jonathan as winner and stop delaying “since the president leads with a margin higher than the registered voters from the remaining states”.
The CPC has, however, rejected the result and said it would not recognise any winner from the presidential election.
National Secretary of the party, Alhaji Buba Galadima, said in the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) monitored in Kaduna at 6:30am yesterday that there was massive rigging of the election in the South-east and South-south, adding that Northerners resident in those areas where prevented from voting.
According to him, it was not possible to score 90 per cent of votes in an area where people did come out to vote.
Galadima, who recalled that Buhari went to court to challenge previous elections, added that this time around, they would not go to court, but would reject the outcome of the election.
“People didn’t come out to vote. How you can you get 90 per cent votes in a place that people didn’t come out to vote? They also prevented Northerners from coming out to vote if they are not voting Jonathan.
“There was no where elections were held in the South-east and South-south. This is more than rigging; it is armed robbery. That is what happened,” he said.
He also dismissed local and foreign observers, who declared that the election was free and fair, alleging that some state governors rigged the election in favour of Jonathan.
“It is a must for us to reject the outcome of this election. We reject the results of the election in South-east and the South-south. These states must be investigated. We would not accept the outcome of the election in those states.
According to him, “The states include Sokoto, Jigawa, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Abuja, Benue, Plateau and the rest of them. We are rejecting more than half of the results from the states. We will not accept the result of this election.
“We will not go to court; we went to court before. We will not accept anybody who emerged as winner of this election.”
Galadima was at the INEC Collation Centre with a petition to be delivered to Jega, but was denied access. Security operatives later collected the protest letter from him.
When journalists accosted him the following dialogue ensured:
Alhaji, why are you here? Are you an agent?
“I came to submit our protest; nobody will sit in his house and vote in Nigeria and expect to hear the result. I will give you the reason why I am here.” (Gave out a copy of his petition).
Where were the results written? In Abuja or where?
“It was written where they wrote them. You know where the results were written. South-east and South-south where there were no elections. I can’t give you the details now. All results must be subjected to forensic analysis before it is announced. If it is announced without forensic analysis, then we will not accept it.”
Was that part of the agreement you reached with INEC?
“Jega is sitting here. Jega cannot do everything. He had people outside and those were the people who were used to doctor the results.”
From what you are saying, we are not expecting any congratulatory message to whoever wins.
“Why? Not to us.”
From the results declared so far Jonathan’s winning.
No, no. From the actual result from the polling stations, Buhari is the winner
What is the figure of the result you consider actual?
I will tell you when the collation is completed.
“When it is completed.”
Meanwhile, it was celebration all the way at the Legacy House, the campaign headquarters of the PDP, the moment Jega declared its candidate the president-elect.
The National Organising Secretary of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, who was the PDP’s Returning Officer in the election, in a brief interview with THISDAY, dedicated Jonathan’s victory at the poll to God Almighty.