A socio-political organisation, Social Rehabilitation Gruppe (SRG), has taken a swipe at the position taken by Catholic Bishops in Nigeria against the verdict of Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) upholding the victory of President Bola Tinubu in the February 25 presidential election.
A statement by the group’s Convener/National Coordinator, Dr. Marindoti Oludare, condemned the clerics’ position as an unwarranted wish that Nigerians who voted in the Presidential election should have been disenfranchised based on the inability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to post election results via Internet server.
Oludare, a Nigeria-born United States-based medical practitioner who’s also a Catholic, averred that the argument of the clergymen defied logic.
“After reading the message by some Catholic bishops on the PEPT judgement, I must say as a Catholic ‘boy’ that I was disaappointed in the fact that My Lord Bishops will go against the ruling of the Lordships at the PEPT without care for rhyme and reason.
“The statement seems to seek to disenfranchise Nigerians based on the inability of INEC to post copies of election-recording documents on a server.
“Had My Lords educated themselves about the way the internet works, they would have known better than to suggest electronic copies of documents hold more legitimacy than the real-source document, which is the form EC8a; where the election results are recorded.
“It’s like my Lords wore a religious shade that cast a hue of bias to their perspective,” he appraised.
According to him, there is a reason the whole American electoral system is not in anyway connected to the internet, and that when they do electronic voting, their is a paper backup, and the process is not connected to the internet.
“This is because the internet is simply put, a group of multiple computers talking to one another, meaning, the external access exposes it to phishing, spamming and manipulations.
“Hence, I can send a message online and that message gets replaced within seconds before it gets to its destination.”
Oludare also pointed out that despite the American electoral system not being connected to the internet, former President Donald Trump and his supporters cried foul and even invaded the seat of government, stating that had the results been connected to the internet, that would have opened room for a floodgate of allegations, speculations and mischief.
He contended further that the decision by the INEC to include a result viewing portal was an unforced error that the body had used to smear the cleanest freeest and fairest election in the electoral body’s history.
He added, “The bishops never cared to ask the candidates of their seeming choice, why they did not present enough evidence to show that they got more votes in the election”, noting that the book of 1 Thessalonians 5:21( in the Bible) encourages believers to “test everything” and “hold on to what is good.”
“Can the bishops be said to have tested the claims that they seem to agree with, before holding on to their own version of truth? The books of Proverbs 13:16: states, ‘Every prudent man acts out of knowledge’.
“Are my Lords claiming to be more knowledgeable about the law than the Lordships of the PEPT? Do they truly care about the truth? what is best for the country? or they only care about a ticket with a Christian on it?
“Trying to impugn the Supreme Court before the case is brought before it by suggesting they could remotely be bias or that the PEPT was influenced, is a low bar that the Catholic bishops should be above,” he counselled.
He also stated that the PEPT delivered a non-controversial judgement based on the letter of the law, stressing that the candidates never claimed to have won the election.
“So in what ways did the failure to transmit the election assail the credibility of the process? Did any party agent present at the polling unit claim the result announced at their polling unit was different from what INEC announced, and if so, to what magnitude has such altered the result of the election?”
“My call is to the members of the media in that, if political parties can have enough polling agents to cover every poling unit, then members of the fourth estate of the realm can also have enough reporters to cover same.
“So we get real time reporting on events at every polling unit and INEC needs to trust itself and jettison the ill-considered iREV portal; otherwise, it will always lead to crisis, be a target of cyber attacks.