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Presidential Poll: PMB Coasts To Victory As PDP Rejects Results

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The results of last Saturday’s presidential election so far released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have shown President Muhammadu Buhari winning all the way.

The results, which have been collated and announced by INEC at its National Collation Centre in Abuja, put Buhari, the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate ahead of his main rival, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with a wide margin.

However, the opposition PDP has rejected collation of the results over allegations of irregularities.

Whether from states in the Southwest, Northeast, Northwest, or North Central geo-political zones, Buhari won with huge votes.

The stage for Buhari’s victory was set by Ekiti State where the incumbent president defeated Atiku, followed by Ogun, Osun, and Lagos States.

But Atiku halted Buhari’s smooth run in the Southwest when he came top in Ondo and Oyo States where results have already been declared by INEC at the collation centre. He has also won in Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi and Akwa Ibom States.

Buhari however repeated the feat in Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Nasarawa States while Atiku stepped in winning in Benue and Plateau States in the North Central zone and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The president also fared better in the Northeast zone as he floored Atiku in Borno, Yobe, Gombe except in Adamawa State where the PDP candidate held sway.

Before INEC shut down the National Collation Centre yesterday evening to resume later at 10pm, Buhari had won seven of the 10 states’ results announced by INEC to Atiku’s three states and the FCT.

The results are announced by INEC as they arrived in Abuja from the states.

The details of the collated results showed that Buhari won in Yobe with 497,914 votes while Atiku got 50,763. In Ondo State, the president lost to Atiku, scoring 241,769 to the PDP candidate’s 275,901 votes.

For Abia State, the president received 85,058 votes while Atiku won the state with 219,698 votes.

Buhari won Gombe State with 402,961 votes as against Atiku’s 138,484 votes. The president also defeated Atiku in Kogi State with 285,894 votes to the latter’s 218,207.

In Kaduna State, Buhari won the contest with 993,482 while Atiku received 613,318. INEC however named Atiku the winner of the poll in Oyo and Enugu States. In Enugu, Atiku got 355,553 votes to Buhari’s 54,423 while in Oyo, Atiku scored 366,592 to Buhari’s 365,229.

The results of Kogi was protested by PDP representative, Mr.Osita Chidoka, who said that there was an earlier agreement that the results of Dekina local government area should not to be included because of the violence that broke out in the council, even as he expressed shock that the figures were in the final result sheet.

In Kwara State, Buhari polled 308,984 while Atiku had 138,184. The situation was not different in Nasarawa State as Buhari got 289,903 and Atiku polled 283,847.

In the FCT, Buhari lost to Atiku with 152,224 to 259,997 votes.

The president emerged winner in Ekiti State with 219,231 votes while Atiku garnered 154,032. Also in Osun State, Buhari won with 347,634 votes to Atiku’s 337,377.

During the presentation of the results, INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu asked the collation officer for Ondo State, Kayode Shoremekun, the vice chancellor of the Federal University, Ado Ekiti, to go back and reorganise himself. He had issues reconciling certain figures.

Meanwhile, At INEC headquarters in Jos, Plateau State, the commission said that Atiku won the presidential election in the state with 530,334 votes to Buhari’s 470,538 votes.

The collation officer, Prof. Anande Richard Kimbir, vice chancellor, University of Agriculture, Makurdi said that 93,000 votes were cancelled in Kabong, Tudun Wada due to over voting and other irregularities.

Atiku won 11 councils of Mikang, Kanke, Pankshin, Langtang South, Jos South, Riyom, Bokkos, Langtang North, Barkin Ladi, Mangu, Riyom and Bassa.

Buhari however swept Jos East, Qua’an Pan, Shendam, Wase, Kanam and Jos North.

The details of the result from Lagos State showed that Buhari won in 15 of the 20 councils with a margin of 132,798 votes.

INEC chief collation officer, Prof. Felix Salako, said yesterday that Buhari received 580,825 votes to beat Atiku, who got 448,015 votes in keenly contested election.

While Buhari won in 15 LGAs, Atiku topped in five councils.

Salako said the number of registered voters stood at 6,313,507, accredited voters 1, 096,490, total valid votes 1,089,567, total vote cast 1,156,590, while the rejected votes 67,023.

It would be recalled that Buhari won the state in 2015 with a margin of 160,143 votes to defeat former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Buhari then polled 792,460 votes while Jonathan got 632,327.

Also, Buhari trumped Atiku in Gombe State. Announcing the result yesterday afternoon in Gombe, the returning officer for the presidential election in the state, Prof. Mohammed Kyari, from Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola  said that Buhari won convincingly in nine of the 11 councils of Akko, Balanga, Kaltungo, Gombe, Dukku, Nafada, Kwami, Yamaltu-Deba and Funakaye while Atiku won in Billiri and Shongom LGAs.

Kyari said that 604,340 voters were accredited but only 554,203 votes were valid while 26,486 votes were invalid.

In Nasarawa State, the returning officer, Prof. Azubuike Nwankwo, said that Buhari polled 289, 903 votes to defeat Atiku, who scored 283,847 votes.

The result showed that Buhari won in eight of the 13 local government areas while Atiku clinched five.

Nwankwo said that 613,720 voters were accredited, while the total votes cast in the presidential election stood at 599,399. He said that the total number of valid votes was 580,778, while 18,621 votes were rejected.

In Ogun State, the collation officer, Prof. Joseph Adeola-Fuwape, said that Buhari polled 281,762 votes to defeat Atiku with 194, 655 votes.

He explained that the total number of registered voters in Ogun stood at 2,336,887, of which 613, 397 voters were accredited.

Adeola-Fuwape said that the total number of votes cast stood at 605,938, of which the valid votes were 564, 256 and 41,682 were rejected.

A breakdown of the total votes pulled by Buhari indicated that he won in 14 of the 20 local government areas of the state while Atiku won in six local government areas.

INEC resident electoral commissioner (REC) in Ogun, Prof. Abdulganiyu Raji, said the commission officials in Ijebu East were forced to cancel the election results in the entire Ajebamdele Ward where malpractices was discovered at Polling Unit 06.

INEC also declared Buhari winner of the election in Jigawa State.

The commission’s chief returning officer in the state, Prof. Abdullahi Abdu Zuru, said that Buhari scored 794,738 votes while Atiku got 289,895 votes.

The presidential collation officer for Adamawa State, Prof Andrew Haruna announced that Buhari who scored 378,074 votes was defeated by Atiku’s 410,266 votes.

Haruna said that the total number of registered voters for the presidential polls were 1,959,322 and accredited voters were 8,74920.

PDP Rejects Poll Results

Meanwhile, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday rejected the election results being called by INEC describing them as incorrect and unacceptable to the party.

The party also called for the nullification of all results from the Northern parts of the country where Card Readers were not used, in line with INEC guidelines.

The national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, who made this statement while addressing a press conference in Abuja,  also called for the cancellation of Nasarawa State presidential election.

According to INEC, 157,591 votes from the 86 polling units were cancelled in Nasarawa State.

Secondus also accused the Buhari presidency of dispatching some senior government officials to manipulate votes shortly after the election results began to trickle in on Sunday evening.

“I want to categorically state that our collation centres have all original results from every polling unit, in every ward, in every Local Government Area (LGA) in Nigeria, of which the international community is well aware, implying all results currently being announced by INEC are incorrect, and thus unacceptable to our party and people.

“Second, officials of both President Buhari’s government and the All Progressive Congress (APC), working with INEC officers, have tried to alter the course of history and disenfranchise our people through the cancellation and manipulation of figures for results already announced at polling units, nationwide, in LGAs, where our party, the PDP, had commanding votes; this must now be resisted by every well-meaning Nigerian.”

It went on to accuse the ruling party of employing strategies it described as murderous, undignified, and disrespectful of the wishes of the electorate, our people and the international community who have been in solidarity with our nation as we attempt to strengthen our democracy and its institutions.

The PDP further accused the ruling APC of colluding with INEC in manipulating the electoral process through inducement and aggressive tendencies using security agencies like the army, police, Department of State Services (DSS), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to silence the voices of the people.

He said: “This is disheartening considering the terms of the Peace Accord, which called for impartiality and non-partisanship by members of our security organisations with constitutional roles to play during this civic exercise.

“As results trickled in on Sunday, February 24, 2019, clearly putting the PDP in the lead, the ruling party and President Buhari dispatched high-ranking officials to coercively influence outcomes in different geopolitical zones in the country.”

According to him, the minister of the interior was dispatched to the North West of the country; the Secretary of the Government of the Federation was dispatched to the North East of the country, while the Attorney General and another minister were dispatched to the South East and South-South regions.

He also alleged that the INEC IT server had been hacked by agents of the APC to manipulate results in certain areas.

He went on: “As if these provocations are not enough, our agents and officials are constantly arrested and in many cases locked up for complaining that Card Readers were not in use in many Northern states, implying that all results from the Northern part of the country where Card Readers were not used should be voided in accordance with INEC guidelines.”

Secondus also called for the release of Eng. Buba Galadima.

“In that context, I call for Buba Galadima’s immediate and unconditional release, as well as that of all officials and agents of the PDP in the Southwest, who were mostly arrested on the eve of the elections where intimidation became the APCs sole election strategy.

“Despite these provocations, intimidation and attempts to hijack our democracy and change the course of history, I must, in fact, convey to our good people the fact that the PDP is on course to victory; therefore, remain resolute and steadfast, because our party shares in your uncertainty and suffering, which must decisively come to a good end for us all.”

Opposition Planning To Cause Crisis – FG

However, in its response to comments by the PDP leader, Prince Secondus, rejecting the results, the federal government yesterday raised the alarm that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was plotting a constitutional crisis in the country.

The government, however, warned against ongoing plans by the desperate opposition to truncate the electoral process and render last Saturday’s elections inconclusive, in order to push for an interim government.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who issued the warning in a statement, noted that “PDP has started laying the groundwork for a constitutional crisis by unleashing its talking heads, including Buba Galadima, Osita Chidoka and Femi Fani-Kayode, on the public space to claim victory in Saturday’s election even when INEC has yet to announce the results, an action that amounts to a clear case of impunity.”

Mohammed also noted that by usurping the role of INEC through the announcement of results, the PDP had violated the Electoral Act and should face very serious consequences.

‘’By announcing the result and saying they have won the February 23 election, the PDP is deliberately seeking to confuse the polity and lay the foundation for rejecting the outcome if, when INEC eventually announces the result, the party does not win.

‘’This confirms what we said in a series of pre-election press conferences – that the PDP, realizing it cannot win a free and fair election, wIll do everything possible to scuttle the polls, failing which it will proceed to the next stage, which is to discredit the entire electoral process, including the result, with the ultimate aim of precipitating a constitutional crisis and pushing for an interim government,’’ he said.

He called on the security agencies to nip in the bud the constitutional crisis that the PDP was working frantically to trigger by immediately arresting and prosecuting anyone who announces the result of last Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections illegally.

Kudos, Knocks As EU, ECOWAS Present Election Assessment

It was a mixture of praise and condemnation as some foreign observer teams present their assessment of the just concluded presidential and national assembly polls.

The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Nigeria stated that the February 23, 2019 elections were marked by   serious operational shortcomings resulting in delays.

In a preliminary report of the Mission presented in Abuja yesterday, the EU (EOM) lauded the positive roles the civil society played in enhancing the transparency and accountability of the electoral process.      

The EU Chief Observer, Maria Arena, admitted that INEC operated in a difficult environment and made a number of improvements since 2015, including the introduction of continuous accreditation and voting.

She explained that the last-minute postponement of the elections, and the delayed start of voting on 23 February, placed an undue burden on voters.

“Going forward, there is a great need   for more      transparency and communication during the whole process, with political parties, civil society, the media and, most importantly, citizens,” said Ms Arena

The mission expressed sadness at the loss  of life in violent incidents during the campaign and on Election Day.

Meanwhile, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has commended INEC and security agencies for their dedication and professionalism during the course of the election.

The mission, in a statement signed by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the head of the ECOWAS observation mission, noted that the voting process went on smoothly despite the widespread delays witnessed at the commencement of the polls.

ECOWAS also applauded the effective presence of security agencies at various polling units for maintaining peaceful order and curtailing outbreak of violence experienced in some places.

The statement commended voters for comporting themselves and for the, patience and tolerance exhibited which contributed to peaceful conduct during the electoral process.

The mission stated that the electoral process was largely peaceful and transparent as voters were able to cast their votes freely without any form of intimidation.

While congratulating Nigerians on the patriotism, tolerance and sense of duty which contributed to maintaining peace and stability during the elections, ECOWAS however urged INEC and other stakeholders to approach the final phases of the process with fairness and transparency until the announcement of the final results.

I’ll Wait For Final Results – PMB

In a reaction to the polls’ results yesterday, Buhari said that he doesn’t believe in rumours and would wait for the final outcome to be declared by INEC.

The president stated this on his arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja from his home state of Katsinam where he voted during the poll.

Buhari had left Abuja on Friday for Daura, Katsina State, to exercise his franchise.

Asked of his reaction to what he heard from across the country, Buhari said: “I don’t want to depend on rumours, but we will rather wait for INEC to announce the results.”

On his message to Nigerians as they await the final results, Buhari said that “l hope that Nigerians will appreciate that it was this government which made sure that they were allowed in security and peace to cast their votes for whichever party and candidates they wanted.”

US Cautions Against Social Media Results

Meanwhile,  the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, has urged all candidates that participated in the general elections to honour the Peace Accord they signed whether  they win or lose.

Symington who was present during the formal opening of collation in Abuja, in a statement made available to journalists, advised all candidates to convince those supporting them to refrain from using force or violence to interfere with the results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

According to him, “No one should break the law by announcing results before INEC does, or break the peace by claiming victory before the results are final.

He also enjoined Nigerians to be wary of fake results circulated through the different social media platforms.

“Everyone has a common interest in showing patience as INEC collates and announces the election results.”

The ambassador, however, lauded the efforts of many Nigerians and the hundreds of thousands who worked together with INEC to conduct the elections.

“As noted by many observer groups in their preliminary reports, this election was predominantly peaceful, and it was proof of the Nigerian people’s resolute commitment to choose their leaders.  The peaceful achievement of millions was shadowed by the violence of a few,” he said.

Commonwealth Observers Urge Transparency In Results Collation

As the INEC continues collation today, the Commonwealth Group observing the election has urged transparency in the final stages of collation and announcement of results.

In its interim statement released yesterday, the group also called on political parties to reject violence, while also commending the people of Nigeria for their commitment to democracy, including positive steps taken for women and youth participation in politics.

Chairperson of the observer mission and former president of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, said, “We trust that the final stages of collation and announcement of results will be handled in a transparent and credible manner.”

He added that the people of “Nigeria have demonstrated patience and commitment to their democracy. We appeal to them to maintain the same commitment in the post-election period.”

He decried the spate of violence that trailed the elections.

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