PDP Protests Selective Use of Card Readers in Northern States

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), this morning vehemently protested what it called selective use of Smart Card Readers (SCRs) in a significant part of Northern states, saying since it was a breach of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s guideline, the results of the presidential election held last Saturday ought to be reviewed.

Raising other sundry concerns about the conduct of the elections, including the deprivation of about 5.1 million voters from participation due to cancellation of votes arising from card reader infractions and violence, the party called for the suspension of declaration of returns until its concerns are addressed.

The party’s concerns were expressed by its agent, Chief Osita Chidoka, who argued that since the 5.1 million restrained votes were more than the 3.9million votes margin of win scored by President Muhammadu Buhari, it had become necessary to review the outcome of the election and consider the suspension of the declaration exercise.

Replying, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the commission was unable to accede to the request of the PDP because its assertions were not substantive, explaining that since declaration exercise was part of a process, the electoral body would examine the party’s observations and take it into consideration when reviewing the electoral process.

A coalition of Nigeria civil society group, The Situation Room, yesterday said it has observed serious discrepancies in some of the results of the presidential election so far announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The observer groups said it was compelled to state its position because some of the numbers/votes announced so far by the State Returning Officers at the INEC National Collation Centre, Abuja, in the on-going collation process, are raising concerns.

In a statement issued by the Executive Director, Policy & Legal Advocacy Centre and Convener, Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Mr. Clement Nwankwo, the body said discrepancies affected a total of 513,214 in 27 states including Nasarawa, Kogi, Adamawa, Edo and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

It said considering the fact that there was simultaneous accreditation and voting, a careful look at some of the figures of accredited voters and the total number of votes cast showed discrepancies.

It said: “The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room) has been observing the national collation and announcement of the presidential election results for the election conducted on 23 February 2019.

“As at 6:47pm Tuesday 26th February, the discrepancy was a total of 513,214 in 27 states, including Nasarawa, Kogi, Adamawa, Edo States and the FCT. Situation Room calls on INEC to transparently address this confusion before the completion of result tabulation.”

Situation Room also said that there is lack of clarity on the rationale for the cancellation of huge numbers of votes by INEC.

According to the group, “There is a lack of clarity in the rationale for cancellation of polls. We have recorded 1,084,358 cancelled votes across 1,175 polling units in 18 states. The pattern of this cancellation requires some close interrogation to show fairness and objectivity.

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