A forum of presidential candidates for the February 23, 2019 election has asked the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and his party to stop “heating up the polity” over INEC’s server.
Atiku and the PDP are challenging the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner of the election, insisting that the result on INEC servers showed that the opposition party won the poll.
But addressing a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, the Chairman of the Forum of Presidential Candidates for the 2019 election, Mohammed Shittu who was flanked by many members of the forum as well as chairmen of various political parties said the server controversy was unnecessary.
Shittu who passed a vote of confidence on INEC in the conduct of the 2019 elections also argued that the server controversy was a deliberate ploy to discredit and destroy the integrity of the nation’s electoral process.
“Can the so-called result 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?”
“The needless controversy over the INEC server would have been lawful as it would have been mandatory for the Commission to deploy the server. It is worrisome that only one political party out of the 91, is saying a different thing in the presidential election while at the same time praising its performance on the other elections, especially governorship polls conducted by the same INEC.”
“We are aware that INEC had run pilots on electronic transmission of results. It had informed us that these pilots were deployed in Anambra, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo states governorship elections.”
“Therefore, 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 elections is bewildering. With all due respect to the EUEOM, it is left to Nigerians to decide how we conducted our 2019 general elections,” Shittu said.
The presidential candidates also called on the 9th National Assembly to revisit the Electoral Bill passed by the 8th Assembly and resend it to President Buhari for assent, saying the bill if signed into law would improve the nation’s electoral process and system.
They also demanded the setting up of a process that would lead to the sanctioning of all personnel of security agencies who compromised in elections to serve as deterrent to others and to show that there are consequences for risking the peaceful co-existence of the country and putting the nation in danger.