In the just concluded week, following the conclusion of the much awaited 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections, President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, February 27, 2019, finally secured a second term in office as the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, declared him winner of the election and also presented the certificate of return to him.
According to the Commission, the All progressives Congress’s (APC) presidential candidate polled 15,191,847 votes to beat his main contender, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who polled 11,262,978 votes.
Although international observers considered the presidential election to be generally peaceful with exception of few locations where violence occurred, several opposition parties rejected the result, especially the PDP Candidate who resorted to challenging Buhari’s victory in court following reports of violence, ballot box snatching and voter suppression.
The runner-up in the last Saturday’s presidential election said that the figures announced by the INEC chairman were full of statistical impossibilities, that is, number of voters were astronomically increased in regions dominated by insecurity and number of voters dropped in peaceful areas.
In the bid to ensure peace, the General Abubakar Abdulsalam (rtd)-led National Peace Committee (NPC) met with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who presented a six-point demand to the Federal Government as a way forward. Top on the list was the unfreezing of bank accounts belonging to politicians from the opposition.
Other demands include: that accreditation of voters should take place before voting in subsequent elections, non-deployment of the military in subsequent elections, that INEC should open its back-end server to all participating parties and release all politicians detained illegally by FG. Meanwhile, INEC said that it would hold supplementary elections alongside the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections on March 9, 2019.
According to the Commission, the supplementary elections were necessary because there were cancelled votes in some part of the country due to violence.
It also mentioned that elections were inconclusive in some part of the country due to disruptions and deliberate non-compliance with the use of the Smart Card Reader (SCR), which was contrary to its regulations and guidelines. We commend the efforts of INEC in conducting supplementary elections in the troubled areas as this would enable more Nigerians to exercise their civic rights, given the low percentage of actual valid votes to number of people who collected their permanent voters’ cards (around 37%).
Also, we expect INEC to have learned from the last week’s elections and deliver credible elections on the governorship and states House of Assembly elections come Saturday, March 9, 2019.