Nigerian Main Opposition Candidate, Atiku, Tells Election Tribunal: Declare Me Winner!…

Nigeria's main opposition party presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar speaks during an interview with Reuters in Lagos, Nigeria January 16, 2019. REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja

In the just concluded week, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), asked the Presidential Election Tribunal to declare him the winner of the February 23, 2019 Presidential Election.

He maintained that the declaration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as the winner of the presidential poll was illegal and unconstitutional, alleging that information on the Commission’s server showed that he won the election.

According to the main opposition party’s candidate, INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, who was also the returning officer for the Presidential Election, committed error in the final collation exercise. Alhaji Atiku reportedly said that data from the INEC’s server (stating the servers unique MAC address as 94-57-A5-DC-64-B9) showed that he defeated the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari, by over 1.6 million votes; he claimed to have polled a total of 18,356,732 votes, which was higher than the total votes of 16,741,430 polled by the incumbent President, to defeat him.

Given the disagreement between Atiku and INEC’s Director of Information and Communications Technology, Mr. Chidi Nwafor, over the server results, the ex-Vice President called for invitation of experts from Microsoft, International Business Machines (IBM) and Oracle to serve as witnesses to give details of the Commission’s server at the Election Tribunal.

Meanwhile, the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly on Wednesday, April 17, 2019, passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) and six other bills earlier rejected by the President after its Technical Committee on “Declined Assent to Bills”, reviewed and redrafted the President’s observations.

President Buhari had earlier rejected the earlier version of the PIGB due to some provisions made in the Bill such as the provisions permitting the Petroleum Regulatory Commission (PRC) to retain as high as 10% of the revenue generated and to expand the functions of the Petroleum Equalization Fund.

In the new PIG Bill, ready to be transmitted to the Executive for assent, PRC’s revenue was reduced to 5% by the Senators. We commend the development in our political space, given the peaceful and lawful manner the ex-Vice President is challenging the incumbent President’s victory at the law court.

Also, the involvement of experts in verifying and substantiating the true status of the election data on INEC server is a welcome idea and an action that might further encourage the Country’s acceptance of electronic voting going forward.

Nevertheless, it is quite obvious that the controversies over the 2019 Presidential election continues to weigh on Nigeria’s capital market, especially equities market, as investors wait on the sidelines to hear the final decision of the Election Tribunal and observe the body language of the two major parties (APC and PDP) given the ex-Vice President’s request and weighty claims tendered at the law court.

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