•To file cross petition challenging Obi’s 6.1m votes
•Says, both are bad losers, chasing after a mirage
•BVAS should be celebrated, not condemned
Presidential Candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has constituted his legal team to take on his opponents, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party PDP and Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party, both of who had vowed to challenge his victory in court.
This was as Tinubu said he would also file a cross-petition against Mr Obi who polled over 6.1 million votes in the election, saying the LP candidate invented the political rigging machine which gave him such a figure.
Minister of State, Labour and Employment, and chief spokesperson of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council PCC, Mr Festus Keyamo SAN disclosed this at a news conference Friday in Abuja.
“We have constituted our legal team and I am part of it. We have volunteers who are SANs. We are going to file a cross-petition to cancel the votes of LP in virtually all the South East states. We are going to court too. If you look at results from the South East, there was one incident where the results from a whole ward were filled using one handwriting. What it means is that they accredited people and asked them to go home and then thumb printed for them. He imported his rigging machine into Lagos State. Go and look at the results from Festac”, he stated.
On the decision of some states to challenge Tinubu’s victory at the Supreme Court, Keyamo called for sanctions against the Attorneys General of such states, saying they ought to have begun the process from a lower court.
“I think without commenting on the merits of the cases, as someone who has sworn to protect the image of the bar, I think we should begin to take some serious look at the conduct of some lawyers. Any lawyer who goes to the Supreme Court instead of going first to the tribunal, I think we should begin to take a critical look at such lawyers. The Supreme Court is not the court of first instance”, he explained.
Addressing journalists, Special Adviser on Media and Communications of the APC PCC Mr Dele Alake, thanked both Atiku and Obi ‘for finally opting for the rule of law as against the initial belligerent posture as they continue their baseless journey of chasing after a mirage”
He said the initial knee-jerk and hothead call for anarchy by their proxies was ill-advised and would in no way serve any noble cause. “It is good to know that reason has prevailed”.
“Let us say, unequivocally, that we welcome the decision of both the PDP and LP and also the NNPP candidates to test their claims, as ridiculous as they are, in the court of law as provided for by our constitution. This is without prejudice to the conciliatory efforts of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He has reiterated in his post declaration speeches the need for all Nigerians, irrespective of whom we all voted for, to rally quickly together for the good of our country.
As we all can see, these two otherwise experienced politicians are pinpointing the lack of adherence to the guidelines as basis for discrediting the votes lawfully cast by Nigerians. We shall examine the so-called process that was purportedly breached by the electoral body and how it, in their wild imagination, undermined the credibility of the election.
“The claim that INEC did not use the BVAS is false. Those who voted across Nigeria, including Atiku and Obi, were accredited by BVAS. Save for bad losers that these two people have proven to be, we should rather be celebrating the tremendous improvement the use of BVAS has brought to our electoral process.
“The complaint over the electronic transmission of the result is not supported by law.
“Section 38 of the Electoral Acct 2022 referred to by the PDP and LP has nothing to do with the transmission of election results. Section 60, subsection 2 of the Act deals with the transmission of results and it is at the discretion of INEC. The Act does not contain any mandatory provision regarding the transmission of results.
“In any case, the process of transmitting results from polling units, whether real-time, two days later or at any time, cannot in any way change the results that have been announced right after the counting in the presence of the parties’ agents and to the hearing of the voters. It is, therefore, nonsensical to insinuate that time variation in uploading results would cause a change in the figures.
“The 2023 Presidential election is a watershed as it produced unprecedented outcomes and defied conventions. The deployment and use of BVAS is the only reason the elections produced these strange outcomes and upsets in many cases. The loss of Katsina and Lagos to PDP and LP respectively were contrary to expectations. BVAS brought the intended credibility to voters’ accreditation such that many governors and well-established politicians lost elections in what should be safe bet areas.
The era of ghost-voting and stuffing of ballot boxes is gone. As the experience in the last governorship election in Osun State has shown, over-voting would automatically lead to outright cancellation of the results of the polling units based on the provision of the new Electoral Act. The same PDP that is trying to pull the wool across the face of Nigerians was the culprit in the Osun State governorship election. Did they try to do it this time and it failed? Or did they do it in the areas they unexpectedly won? Did they have a grand plan to hack the INEC server if results were uploaded in real-time? Nigerians will soon find out.
“The PDP also found itself in No.3 in Kano, with a former member, Kwankwaso running away with over 900,000 votes. How far could the PDP have gone with what was left of it? Not so far as the results of the elections have shown. The members of G5 were key leaders of the party who had substantial political influence. They also went away with their own pound of flesh, leaving a crippled PDP to scavenge for crumbs of votes.”
“For Obi, he would go down as Nigeria’s most dangerous and divisive politician. He elevated his well-known clannish mentality to a most unfortunate height by openly anchoring his campaign on religion and ethnicity. He presented himself as a poster boy for and a champion of our country’s fault lines. He took advantage of our youths whose expectations are fast-paced, who are uninterested in excuses, and who were in search of a hero. He pumped up their sentiments and rode on their emotions while grandstanding as a saviour. It was a false pretence. Obi’s credentials are eternally stained as a former governor with no remarkable legacy”, said Alake.