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INEC server controversy: 60 presidential candidates, chairmen back Commission

By Samuel Ogidan, Abuja on 25/06/2019

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Joint Forum of 60 Presidential Candidates and National Chairmen in the 2019 presidential elections under the aegis of G-60 on Tuesday backed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the INEC server controversy between the Commission and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Addressing newsmen on Tuesday at a joint world press conference in Abuja, the convener of the event, Chief Perry Opara, said that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is heating up polity with server’s story, adding that the party was part of the meeting where INEC informed all political parties in the election following the non-passage of the Electoral Act that it would not deploy the electronic transmission of results since it would not be lawful to do so.

They added that “this INEC Server controversy is a deliberate ploy to destroy the integrity of our electoral process.”

Recall that on Monday, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal had dismissed the request of the PDP and Atiku Abubakar/Peter Obi legal team, seeking leave of court to inspect INEC Server and other Electoral Materials.

Opara, in the press conference, titled “2019 presidential election review,” said, “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 deprived the nation of the much-needed reform of our electoral process.

“The needless controversy over the INEC Server would have been lawful as it would have been mandatory for the Commission to deploy the server. We are aware that INEC had run pilots on electronic transmission of results. It had informed us that these pilots were deployed in Anambra, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun Governorship elections.

“However, INEC informed all political parties in the election following the non-passage of the Electoral Act that it would not deploy the electronic transmission of results since it would not be lawful to do so.

“We must inform Nigerians now that the Peoples Democratic Party (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?

“Gentlemen of the press, having gathered as Presidential candidates and political party leaders, we thoroughly x-rayed the 2019 election, the unfavourable and hostile environment the election management body operated under, and the extant laws under which the elections were conducted, have come to the emphatic conclusion that the 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 Elections.”

On the European Union (EU) reports of the 2019 election, the group took a different position, adding that it is left in the hands of Nigerians to take the final stand on how the election was conducted.

“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 election is bewildering. With all due respect to the EUEOM, it is left to Nigerians to decide how we conducted our 2019 general elections.

“INEC consulted widely and extensively, and together with stakeholders of which we are a part of, came up with the guidelines for the conduct of the 2019 general elections, which the Commission followed to the letter.

“We recall that nine out of the eleven points for consideration we raised as candidates under the auspices of the IPAC and CUPP respectively were adopted by the Commission. How then can the EU-EOM accuse the Commission of a lack of transparency in putting up guidelines for the elections?

“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.

“Parties agreed on a lot of issues with the Commission and those were implemented. It is worrisome that only one political party out of 91 is saying a different thing on the Presidential election while at the same time praising its performance on the other elections, especially governorship, conducted by the same INEC,” the presidential candidates said.

They, however, urged the 9th National Assembly to revisit the Electoral Bill passed by the 8th National Assembly and resend it to the President, adding that the amendment will hugely improve the nation’s electoral system and its processes.

They also demanded the immediate setting up of the process that will lead to the sanctioning of all personnel of security agencies who compromised the elections to serve as a deterrent to others and to exhibit that there are consequences for risking the peaceful coexistence of the country and putting the country in danger. (Daily Independent)

Source News Express

Posted 25/06/2019 8:56:34 PM





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