Presidential polls: Obi says to INEC you sold your neutrality to APC
Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), has maintained that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) compromised its role of neutrality as an election umpire by manipulating the results of the presidential polls that took place on February 25 in favor of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Bola Ahmed Tinubu was the candidate of the APC.
In his response to INEC’s preliminary objections and reply to his petition, Obi stated that the Commission’s assertion that his petition and the reliefs sought therein before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) were vague, imprecise, and unguardable was nothing more than wishful thinking. Obi was responding to INEC’s objections and reply.
On the other hand, Obi pleaded with the court to accept its jurisdiction and move forward with the process of deciding his petition because it had been presented to the court in the correct manner and included all of the necessary parties, as required by the law.
Obi argued that the APC candidate was the only candidate since 1999 to be declared winner of the presidential election without winning 25 percent of the votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), while at the same time maintaining that Tinubu was not elected by a majority of the lawful votes cast at the election. Tinubu was not elected by a majority of the lawful votes cast at the election.
Obi argued before the tribunal that he should be declared the winner of the presidential election on the basis that “the actual votes obtained at the polling units as shown in the report incorporated/pleaded in the petition, show that the petitioner won the majority of the lawful vote cast at the election and met the Constitutional requirements to be declared/returned as winner of the election.” Obi’s petition stated that “the actual votes obtained at the polling units as shown in the report incorporated/pleaded in the petition”
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Obi, who debunks INEC’s claim that it relied on manual documents in declaring the winner of the contested election, argues that the lawful method for resolving disputes at the collation is to resort to the result that was uploaded on the IReV utilizing the BVAS. Obi does this by picking holes in INEC’s argument that it relied on manual documents in declaring the winner of the contested election.
He stated that as of the date of filing this response on April 21, “the information on INEC’s IReV portal shows that out of the 176, 846 polling units, the result submitted was in respect of 167, 433 polling units; and that the percentage of the uploaded result on the IReV is 94.68 percent.” He was referring to the fact that the information was available.
“That as required by law and in the various press releases/briefings including press interviews, INEC through its senior officials represented and assured that for the 2023 general elections, the use of BVAS as a technological device for the accreditation of voters and online upload of result of the elections in the polling units was not only mandatory but an innovation introduced by INEC to increase transparency, public confidence in electoral process, and in conformity with the requirements of the law.” “That as required by law and in the various press releases/briefing
“That the results of the election were manipulated and not properly computed using the actual scores of the candidates, nor verified with release to the uploaded results on the IReV.” “That the results of the election were manipulated and not properly computed using the actual scores of the candidates.”
The failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to upload the results of the presidential election conducted using BVAS to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IReV) as required by law was a strategy employed by INEC to manipulate the actual results of the election.
Obi, who accused INEC of abandoning its role of neutrality during the election, stated that the global best practice for electoral umpires in national elections is for an electoral body to avoid creating the impression that it has no respect for neutrality in an electoral contest between candidates. Obi made this statement after INEC was accused of abandoning its role of neutrality during the election.
“The appellate courts have reminded the first respondent (INEC) on multiple occasions that it is necessary for it to maintain its impartiality throughout the election process. Therefore, not only is it embarrassing for the first respondent, but it is also a dereliction of duty when it dons the garb of a contestant in an election that it conducted as an umpire in order to raise preliminary objection against an election petition.