Presidential, National Assembly elections failed to comply with electoral act –Afenifere

By: Hakeem Gbadamosi, Akure

The Pan Yoruba socio-political group,  Afenifere has said the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections in the country did not comply substantially with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended.

The group specifically said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) grossly violated the guidelines in conducting elections in compliance with the provisions of relevant laws guiding the conduct of elections in the country.

This was contained in a communique issued by the group at the end of a special general meeting, held at the Isanya-Ogbo country home of the leader of the group, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who maintained that the conduct of the election was a breach of the constitution and the Electoral Act.

The group, in the communique signed by its leader, Adebanjo and the Secretary-General, Chief Sola Ebiseni, said the deliberate non-compliance to the electoral law by the electoral umpire encouraged electoral brigandage at the polling units.

The group’s communique read:”That Afenifere recalled the sustained struggles of the Nigerian people culminating  in the amendment of the Electoral Act 2010 and  the enactment of the Electoral Act 2022 by the National Assembly.

“That the extant legal framework mandatorily regulating  the conduct of  the Presidential and General Assembly Elections held on the 25th February 2023 are thus the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the Electoral Act, 2022; and  the Election Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of elections, 2022, issued by the INEC in the exercise  of powers given the Commission by the Constitution and the Electoral Act.

“That Section 60 (5) of the Electoral Act  2022 provides that the Presiding Officer shall transfer the results including the total number of accredited voters and the results of the ballot in a manner prescribed by the Commission”.

Afenifere maintained that INEC failed to comply with Electoral act and the guidelines regarding the electronic transmission of votes and said “That pursuant  to the said power enabling it in that behalf the Commission issued the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022 and in Clause 38 thereof provides  that “upon completion of all the Polling Unit voting and results, procedures, the Presiding Officer shall,

Electronically transmit or transfer the result of the Polling Unit, direct to the collation system as prescribed by the commission.

“Use BVAS to upload a scan of ES8A to INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV), as prescribed by the commission.”

The group said “the deliberate non-compliance by the Commission with these mandatory guidelines encouraged electoral brigandage at the polling units which included destruction of ballot papers, snatching of ballot boxes, doctoring of figures and swapping of votes of candidates at the coalition centres by amended and outlawed manual procedures which rendered the 25th February 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections flawed in several respects as confirmed by local and international observers”

Afenifere denounced and dissociated the group from a congratulatory message to the winner of the contest and said the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party won the election from the results available to the group.

“The results of the lawful votes at the election available to the Afenifere through credible sources confirm that His Excellency Peter Gregory Obi, the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party won the said election and we thus support his decision challenging the contrary Declaration by the INEC.

“That the General Meeting hereby denounced in strong terms and dissociated Afenifere from any congratulatory message in the name of the Organisation or howsoever to any candidate as illegally declared by the INEC.

“That Afenifere reiterates that for equity, fairness, national cohesion and peaceful corporate existence, the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be person of its Southern part and specifically the South East”

While urging people of the southwest region to troop out and participate in the next Saturday governorship and House of Assembly election, said “with particular reference to Lagos State, Afenifere confirmed that the Governorship candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour is a person of Yoruba origin, whose grandparents are not only Yoruba but definitely one of the notable founding families of Lagos. We unequivocally endorse and urge the people of Lagos to vote for him.

“That Afenifere calls on INEC to ensure free and credible Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections in accordance with the constitution, the extant Electoral Act and its mandatory Guidelines earlier mentioned.

“That in accordance  with the hallowed Yoruba culture  of civilised conduct Afenifere assures all persons resident in Yorubaland, indigenes and non-indegenes, of protection in the conduct of their lawful duties and particularly the free exercise of the rights to vote for candidates of their choice in all elections and thus warn all threats mongers and merchants of violence to desist therefrom.

“That Afenifere calls on the President and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and all security agents to guaranty the safety of the people, free, fair and peaceful elections throughout Nigeria.

“That the international community should show special concerns in the on-going electioneering process in Nigeria in the interest of peace in the global community”

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