*50 political parties fault EU Report, say 2019 election was credible
No fewer than presidential candidates of 50 political parties have faulted the report of the European Union election observation team which picked holes in the conduct of the 2019 general election.
The parties also asked the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to stop heating up the polity with the server controversy which they said is a deliberate ploy to destroy the integrity of the electoral process, saying whatever results collated from the so-called server cannot be said to be credible.
The political parties, at a world press conference to review the 2019 presidential election review in Abuja. The presidential candidate of Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance, APDA, Shittu Mohammed said the presidential candidates and political party leaders were convinced that the 2019 election was fair and credible and the Independent National Electoral Commission performed credibly.
“The unfavourable and hostile environment that the election management body operated under, and the extant laws under which the elections were conducted, we have come to the emphatic conclusion that INEC performed creditably well and we hereby unequivocally reaffirm our confidence in INEC for its performance against all odds in the conduct of the 2019 general election.
“There were several innovations introduced by INEC which made the 2019 elections freer, fairer and more credible than what was obtainable in the past such as the simultaneous accreditation and voting; introduction of assistive innovations for physically challenged voters; Continuous Voter Registration which added 14 million new voters to the register were but a few of the innovations introduced by INEC.
“Therefore, the report of the European Union Election Observation Mission released over a week ago wherein they alleged a lack of transparency in the guidelines of the election is bewildering. With all due respect to EUEOM, it is left to Nigerians to decide how we conducted the 2019 general elections,” said Mohammed.
He noted that political parties agreed on certain guidelines with the electoral commission for the conduct of the 2019 elections, but the issue of the use of electronic transmission of results was not part of it because of its legal implications.
He said while INEC informed the parties that it had experimented with the electronic transmission of results in the stand-alone elections in Anambra, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun, it dropped the idea when the electoral act giving legal backing to electronic transmission was not signed into law.
“In the build-up to the elections, we as presidential candidates and our political parties held several meetings with INEC. The delay in finalizing the electoral legal framework and the eventual withholding of assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill deprived the nation of the much-needed reform of our electoral process which must be anchored on the rule of law.
“The needless controversy over INEC’s server would have been lawful as it would have been mandatory for the commission to deploy it. We are aware that INEC had run a pilot scheme on electronic transmission of results. It had informed us that these pilots were deployed in Anambra, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun governorship elections.
“We must inform Nigerians now that the PDP was represented in those meetings and we do not know why they are heating up the polity with the server story.
“This INEC server controversy is a deliberate ploy to destroy the integrity of our electoral process. Can the so-called results from the server be referred to as credible where INEC could not have legitimately transmitted results of the presidential or any of the other elections electronically?
“We reiterate that the INEC server controversy is unnecessary. It is a plot to discredit the election as political parties never agreed with INEC in any of the several pre-election meetings that results will be transmitted electronically,” Mohammed explained
The parties urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sign the Electoral Act Amendment into law once it is presented to him again by the National Assembly. That amendment will hugely improve our electoral system and its processes.