Chuks Okocha in Abuja
In a follow up to the press conference of the national chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party, African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Labour Party, the vice presidential candidates of the PDP, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state and Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed of the Labour Party have called for the cancellation of the presidential election because of violation of the constitution and the 2022 electoral act.
Addressing a joint press conference in Abuja, Okowa and Datti said that the presidential election held Saturday cannot stand because it was a rape on democracy snd was unconstitutional.
The text of the press statement read by the PDP Presidential running mate, Governor Okowa said, “We wish to state for the records that last weekend’s election was a sham. It was neither free nor fair. What played out yesterday at the National Collation Center exposes the National Chairman of playing to a predetermined script.
“Our position remains that the election and transmission of the results must be in tandem with the Electoral Act and the INEC guidelines.
“There is no doubt that INEC is under a statutory obligation to transmit election results electronically. Paragraph 38 of the INEC manual made pursuant to section 149 of the Electoral Act 2022 and the 1999 constitution as amended provides for this. That paragraph, which deals with the transmission of results at the polling units, is crucial, and it imposes statutory obligations on the part of INEC to upload polling units results on its portal.
“There is no doubt that polling units results are the pyramid upon which other results are built. Therefore, it is required that the moment polls come to a close and the results are declared, the results must be uploaded on INEC server or portal.”, Okowa stated.
According to Okowa, “Paragraph 38 of INEC Manual 2022 made pursuant to the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and section 149 of of the Electoral Act 2022 provides that: “On completion of all the Polling Unit voting and results /procedures, the Presiding Officer shall:
“Electronically transmit or transfer the result of the Polling Unit, direct to the collation system as prescribed by the Commission.
“Use the BVAS to upload a scanned copy of the EC8A to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV), as prescribed by the Commission.
“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 fundamenal breach that has the potential of rendering the election results that did not follow those procedures null and void.”, he stressed.
Accordingly, Okowa said, “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 –
“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”, he explained.
Consequent on the above Section 60 (4) of the Electoral Act 2022, Okowa stressed, “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”, he emphasized.
According the PDP Presidential running mate, “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 noncompliance 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 INEC 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 the path of honor by canceling 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”, he stated.