OpenLife Nigeria reports that disputed election results and alleged fraudulent practices by staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, have elicited negative reactions from former President Olusegun Obasanjo and international election observers.
Specifically, Obasanjo, the European Union and the National Peace Committee, on Monday, flayed the lack of transparency that trailed the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.
While President Obasanjo appealed to the Chairman of Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, to consider the complaints raised over the non-upload of election results by the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, and reschedule the election in the affected areas, the European Union said the election lacked transparency, reduced trust and challenged the right to vote of the electorate.
Similarly, the National Peace Committee, NPC, also yesterday expressed concerns over events trailing collation of results of the elections, especially protests over alleged manipulation of the results across the country.
Obasanjo in an open letter dated February 27, 2023, which he personally signed, also urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to fold his arms and watch as his effort to bequeath a legacy of free and fair election was being threatened by INEC officials who he claimed had collaborated with politicians to compromise the election.
He warned that Nigeria might be set on fire, if nothing was done urgently to address the problem, claiming that most of the results that were brought outside BVAS and server were not true reflection of the will of Nigerians who had made their individual choice.
The letter reads: “I crave the indulgence of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, to make this statement because I have had opportunity to keep him aware of what I know is happening and the danger upcoming ahead.
’On many occasions in the past, I have not hesitated to point out lacuna in the action of the President and his government.
“But as far as the election issues are concerned, the President has proved beyond reasonable doubt that he will want to leave a legacy of free, fair, transparent and credible elections.
“Until last Saturday night, February 25, 2023, the good and noble plan and preparation for the election seemed to be going well. For the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, a lot of money was spent to introduce Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, and the Server for immediate transmission of results from polling units.
“It is no secret that INEC officials, at operational level, have been allegedly compromised to make what should have worked not to work and to revert to manual transmission of results which is manipulated and the results doctored.
‘’The Chairman of INEC may claim ignorance but he cannot fold his hands and do nothing when he knows that election process has been corrupted and most of the results that are brought outside BVAS and Server are not true reflection of the will of Nigerians who have made their individual choice.
“At this stage, we do not need to wittingly or unwittingly set this country on fire with the greed, irresponsibility and unpatriotic act or those who allegedly gave money to INEC officials for perversion and those who collected the blood money.
“Let me appeal to the Chairman of INEC, if his hands are clean, to save Nigeria from the looming danger and disaster which is just waiting to happen.
“If the Chairman can postpone elections four days to the election, he can do everything to rectify the errors of the last two days — no BVAS, no result to be acceptable; and no upload through Server, no result to be acceptable.
“Where BVAS and Servers have been manipulated or rendered inactive, such results must be declared void and inadmissible for election declaration.”
As a remedy, Obasanjo advised a re conduct of elections next Saturday adding that a committee of INEC staff and representatives of the four major political parties with the chairman of Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, should be set up to look into what must be done.