A judge in the Federal High Court (FHC) in Abuja, on Thursday, scheduled a hearing on a petition filed by Mr Jimi Lawal, a candidate for governor who lost the Ogun Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary poll on May 25.
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Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP), and Action Alliance (AA) have all called for the presidential election in Ekiti state to be cancelled, claiming allegations of overvoting as their reason.

Prof. Akeem Lasisi, the State Collation Officer for Ekiti State, announced on Sunday that Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the election in Ekiti.

He said that Tinubu got 201,494 votes, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got 89,554 votes, and Peter Obi of the Labour Party got 11,397 votes. Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) got 264 votes.

But when they resumed tallying the votes for the presidency on Monday in Abuja, the agent of the PDP, Senator Dino Melaye, claimed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should annul the election because there was overvoting.

His words: “I worked on the result as presented, and I discovered that we have 987,647 registered voters in Ekiti and 301,558 accredited. The result that was presented yesterday, APC, had 201,494. If you subtract that from 301,558, what you have left is 100,064. Out of this 100,064, PDP scored 89,554. If you remove that from the balance of 100,064, what is left is 10,510. It was also recorded that the Labour Party had 12,397 when the total left is 10,510, which means an over figure of 887.

“Apart from this 887 surplus, we have not calculated the votes of other political parties. Because you will recall that, yesterday, he told us that ADC scored 1,027.

“You will see from that presentation yesterday that the figure did not add up. There was over voting and the number of votes outnumber the number of accredited votes and we know exactly what the law says concerning that. I move that should be considered because Ekiti cannot stand,” Melaye said.

In his argument, Hon. Umar Farouk Ibrahim, the presidential agent for the Labour Party, agreed with Melaye’s point of view. He said that his party had also noticed the same strange thing and had called for the votes from Ekiti to be thrown out.

Action Alliance’s presidential candidate, Kenneth Udeze, also asked the electoral commission to throw out the results from Ekiti state.

He said, “this calculation and position of my colleagues here, Action Alliance has gone through that same figure and we got the same similar position. We will like the commission to look at it and the Ekiti state result should be cancelled for over voting based on our calculation.”

Babatunde Ogala, the presidential agent for APC, said that since the results had been announced, anyone unhappy should go to court.

He said, “I think the law is clear that when a result has been declared, we should resort to petition, if need be. Ekiti was declared yesterday, we were asked for observation, and if that had been done , any party that feels troubled should prepare its petition.”

Regarding the same issue, Safanaya Jisalo, the presidential agent for the National Rescue Movement, said that the Electoral Act was clear and that parties who felt wronged should go to court.

But Melaye said that the result was only shown, not announced. He said that only the chairman of INEC has the power to announce results.

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the head of INEC, said that Melaye used the wrong number during his argument.

He did say, though, that his point was taken into account and that the commission would look into it.

Yakubu said, “I still insist that the figure presented by the state collection officer for the presidential election for Ekiti state, the total number of accredited voters, is 315,058. This is what is on the spreadsheet that we screened yesterday. And this is also what is on the actual result manual recorded by the State Collation Officer for Presidential Election (SCOPE) and signed by the PDP agent and agents of other political parties back in Ekiti state. 

“But having said that, I’ve taken note of your observations, let us make progress on that one. But what we have here is exactly what I’ve said. And any other figure that is at variance with this one cannot supersede the official result presented. Let’s make progress.”

But Melaye wasn’t happy with what the INEC chairman said, so he kept making noise while the Returning Officer for the Ondo state election was giving his results.

After the results for Ondo were announced, Melaye met with other party agents, and they all agreed to demand that INEC show the results on the screen.

Melaye told reporters after their meeting, “A few minutes ago, we raised the issue of the fact that in accordance with the provision of the Electoral Act, Section 60 and Section 64 of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended), that there will be transmission of results from the polling units. And then INEC chairman has repeatedly told Nigerians that there will be transmission of a lot of results from polling units directly to the server. ”

“We find out that this has not been done. INEC failed in this regard. And when this issue was raised today, supported by other party agents, the national chairman of INEC evaded vehemently because Section 47(3) emphasizes that wherever the BVAS failed, if they cannot get a replacement, the election should be cancelled in those areas. 

“And we have seen from the presentation of the results from yesterday that some places were cancelled due to bypassing BVAS. So the only way to detect that BVAS has been bypassed is for us to see the uploaded results. 

“And we insisted that the chairman should show us here the uploaded results state by state just like the way they are displaying the collated results they are presenting, and that is the only way to test the veracity and authenticity of these results.

“If not, we are only here to endorse the fraud that has been done from the units to the world to the states. We are not here to rubber stamp infractions. We are not here to rubber stamp the abnormalities that have been done. We are here to check them but the National Chairman of INEC is not given us opportunity to question what they are doing.”

Melaye said they will do everything they can to ensure the right thing happens.

He said, “We have just met with other political parties, and we are going to make a presentation by the time we resume, and if they insist that they are not going to respond to us, then you will see the action we will take.

“We will not allow it. We have suffered a lot of pain in this country, suffered poverty, hunger, kidnapping, and killings. We will not allow a continuation of failure. We must make sure that the right thing is done.

“Nigerians are watching, the world is watching, even the dead are watching to see what INEC will do, but the battle to make sure that only authentic results will be announced here today is a battle of no retreat, no surrender.”

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