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PDP: Why INEC Must Review Ogun Governorship Election Result

PDP: Why INEC Must Review Ogun Governorship Election Result

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to review the alleged wrongful declaration of Governor Dapo Abiodun as the winner of the March 18 governorship election in Ogun State, within seven days in line with its powers under Section 65 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2022.

PDP argued that the result declared by INEC was completely at variance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, and guidelines issued by INEC for the conduct of the election.

INEC had announced Abiodun as Governor-elect in Ogun State, after polling 276,298 votes to defeat his closest PDP rival, Oladipupo Adebutu, who got 262,383 votes.

The PDP also stated that the summary of collated results at the governorship election showed that the candidate of the PDP was in the clear lead before compromised officials of INEC allegedly connived with the defeated APC, to cancel the PDP’s thousands of winning votes and evidently declare the candidate of the APC, Abiodun as the winner, in violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.

At a press conference by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, yesterday in Abuja, PDP urged “INEC to note that with the cancelled votes, the margin of lead between Mr. Adedapo Abiodun of the APC and the PDP governorship candidate, Oladipupo Adebutu is not more than the total number of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), collected in polling units where the election was not held or cancelled by INEC, citing disruption of polls.

Ologunaba, while pointing out that the margin of lead between the two candidates as announced by the INEC Returning Officer is 13,915 thereby invalidating the Declaration and Return made by INEC is at variance with the number of PVCs, collected in places where elections were not held or cancelled is 33,750,

The PDP spokesperson observed that in such situations, the only option available to INEC is to exercise its powers under Section 65 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 to review the wrongful declaration and return made within seven days.

For the avoidance of doubt, Section 65 (1) provides that; “The decision of the returning officer shall be final on any question arising from or relating to— (a) unmarked ballot paper; (b) rejected ballot paper; and (c) declaration of scores of candidates and the return of a candidate:

“Provided that the commission shall have the power within seven days to review the declaration and return where the commission determines that the said declaration and return were not made voluntarily or was made contrary to the provisions of the law, regulations and guidelines, and manual for the election.”

The party’s spokesperson speaking further said “In such circumstances, Section 24 (3) (4) of the Electoral Act, 2022 expressly mandate INEC to appoint a new date for the conduct of the polls in the polling units where the election did not hold or cancelled before any Return can be made.

“Section 24. (3) further maintained “Where an election has commenced and there is reason to believe that there is or has been substantial disruption of election in a polling unit or constituency or it is impossible to continue with the election occasioned by the threat to peace and security of electoral officials and materials, the Commission shall suspend the election and appoint another date for the continuation of the election or the process.

“Where the commission appoints a substituted date by subsections (2) and (3), there shall be no return for the election until polling has taken place in the area or areas affected.”

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