- Describes declaration as electoral fraud, advises Kogi INEC REC to resign
By Joseph Sunday – Lokoja
The Campaign Council of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency, Kogi state, has vehemently rejected in its entirety the purported declaration of the candidate of the ADC, Arc Salman Idris, as the winner of the election held on the 25th February 2023.
The Returning Officer, Dr Adams Baba had declared the election inconclusive on Sunday, 26th February in Kabba due to lead margins inline with the regulations and guidelines of INEC’s law 2022.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Director General of the Campaign Council, Hon. Adesayo Ismail and made available to newsmen in Lokoja.
According to the statement, the party (APC) campaign council was surprised the way a supposed electoral umpire who should not be partisan and could have carried out its duties inline with the relevant laws suddenly turned around at the middle of the game due to alleged inducement, stressing that the ADC as a party also knows that they did not win the election squarely but decided to defraud the electorate using all manners of tactics to gain temporary political power.
The party described the declaration in Kabba yesterday as fraudulent and pointed out that the electoral act and INEC regulations as well as guidelines of 2022 are clear on issues of over voting especially when the lead margins is not in excess of the PVC collected in the affected polling units.
The statement quoted the relevant section of the law which it relies on as: “Where an election is declared null and void in one or more polling units for over voting in line with clause 40 of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for Elections, 2022. Another day shall be fixed for supplementary election in the affected polling units and returns from the affected constituencies shall not be made untill polls are conducted in the affected polling units”
While stating that despite the alleged huge vote buying by ADC with over eighty million naira used to procure votes across the Federal Constituency, he averred that it was evidently clear that they could not win hence they used all available means to stampede the supplimentary election that would have disgrace them and their godfather who used money meant for the party presidential campaign, Tinubu/Shettima against the APC in the area, pointing out that those who joined the bandwagon to work against the party.
The statement added that the betrayals should be ashamed of themselves by now that only one man was seen holding NTA microphone where the secret declaration was made without other party agents.
He said the party has already given a marching order to its legal team to approach the tribunal to reclaim its mandate which was freely and overwhelmingly given to the party on the 25th February, 2022, stressing that the lead margins principle settled it all aside other infractions already discovered such as where more than 100 votes were deducted from the APC votes between the ward collation centre and local government collation centre in Ijumu.
‘Where the margin of lead between the two leading candidates in an election is not in excess of the total number of voters who collected their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) in Polling Units where elections are postponed, voided or not held in line with Sections 24(2 & 3), 47(3) and 51(2) of the Electoral Act 2022, the Returning Officer shall decline to make a return for the constituency until polls have been conducted in the affected Polling Units and the results collated into the relevant forms for Declaration and Return. This is the Margin of Lead Principle and shall apply wherever necessary in making returns for all elections in accordance with these Regulations and Guidelines,” he stated to support his stand.
The party advised the Resident Electoral Commissioner in charge of Kogi State, Prof. Gabriel Longpet to excuse himself from the commission, stressing that his hands are not clean, pointing out that it is unheard off that a reputable commission like INEC could not hold on to its earlier stand of holding supplementary election in line with the commission regulations and guidelines, 2022, since elections were cancelled in some polling units.
He said it was alleged that over fifty million naira exchanged hands within the commission in Kogi and national office, Abuja of the electoral umpire with the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Gabriel Longpet playing a prominent role to defraud the people of Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency and sabotage APC chances of winning.
He called on the party faithful and the good people of Kabba-Bunu/ Ijumu Federal Constituency of Kogi State to remain calm, peaceful and law abiding as the party will use all legal means to retrieve its mandate freely given to them for the betterment of the people of the area.
It will be recalled that just yesterday in Lokoja, hundreds of youths and supporters of the All Progressive Congress marched through the streets protesting the “perceived” decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission to announce winner for the House of Representatives election of Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency in the state, without recourse to its earlier stand to conduct supplementary election in some polling units where elections were earlier cancelled.
The State APC Youths Leader Muhammed Uba, who led the protest while presenting their protest letter at the INEC state office, said it will amount to turning the law on its head if INEC without recourse to concluding the election goes ahead to declare a winner.
“We are hereby calling on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to as a matter of urgency to act in line with relevant laws empowered by the Electoral Act 2022 and INEC Regulations and Guidelines 2022 to also conduct supplimentary election in Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu federal constituency.
“The Wards are; Aduge/Ogale, Iyah/Ayeh polling unit 006 Wards, Ijumu local government in addition to Iyah unit in Otu ward, Kabba/Bunu Local Government and Egbeda Egga in Ijumu local government where election were earlier cancelled in the federal Constituency.”
According to him, election were also cancelled in Iyah/Ayeh and Aduge/Ogale wards which should also be included as parts of the areas supplimentary election will be conducted in accordance with the electoral act 2022 and INEC Guidelines 2022.
“We urge the commission not to compromise in doing the right thing as spelt out in the electoral act and guidelines.
He said the enabling laws is very clear on what the electoral umpire should do when such issues arise that the principle of margin take it course where the lead between the two leading candidates is in excess of the PVC collected in the affected areas. Let it be noted that in this case the vote margin between the two leading candidates is 262, whereas there are over 1800 pvc collected in the four affected areas.
“We call on the commission (INEC) not to compromise in discharging their constitutional duties on conducting elections in line with enabling laws as that will not only strengthen Nigeria democracy but it will set standard for performance for whoever is elected.
“We are worried by the fact that some information about INEC trying to issue certificate of return to ADC is at our disposal, consequently, warn against testing the will of the people of Kabba Bunu Ijumu Federal Constituency.
“While we hope that our prayers as contained in our protest Letter would be granted in line with the stipulated laws, we make bold to State that we will seek legal redress if INEC act otherwise.”
The Deputy Director of the APC campaign Council in Kogi West, Cornelius Olowo said there are 1,157 PVC collectors in the affected polling unit which was substantive enough to tint winning to any side in an election where the margin of leads is not more than 262.