Nigeria elections: Main opposition rejects initial vote results
Some civil society activists backed the opposition party’s rejection of the initial results and ‘collusion’ accusations.
Abuja, Nigeria – The main opposition in Nigeria on Monday rejected provisional presidential election results declared by the electoral commission showing the ruling party in the lead, accusing the two of being in “collusion”.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said the initial results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were unacceptable, alleging the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and state security agents were working with the commission to manipulate the vote.
“The results are incorrect and unacceptable to our party. Officials of the APC, working with INEC, have decided to alter results to affect our people,” PDP chairman Uche Secondus told journalists.
“INEC must live up to its responsibility. They are under pressure. We have the facts and when the time comes, we will begin to release them,” Secondus said.
“The APC in collusion with INEC have taken aggressive steps, mostly through inducements, manipulation and incarcerations, using the elements of state power – including the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Army.”
The ruling APC dismissed the allegations by the opposition party.
“It is anti-democratic and seeks to frustrate the sacrifice that Nigerians have made to vote and express their will,” Babatunde Fashola, minister of power, works and housing, told Al Jazeera.
“It is an old trick from their scrapbook. It will fail,” Fashola said.
There was no immediate response from the electoral commission.
Some civil society activists backed the opposition party’s rejection of the results and its accusations.
“The decision of the PDP to reject the results is apt, based on the outrageous intimidation, suppression, violence and outright falsification of results that proliferate the entire exercise,” Segun Awosanya, a civil rights advocate, told Al Jazeera.
“What is being reeled out now are outrageous statistical anomalies, which is a far cry from the wishes of the people.”
Some opposition leaders and supporters were arrested by security operatives before and after the delayed presidential and legislative elections.
One of those picked up a day after the polls was Buba Galadima, spokesman of the PDP’s opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar. His family said his whereabouts remain unknown since he was whisked away by masked gunmen on Sunday.
“I call for Buba Galadima’s immediate and unconditional release, as well as that of all officials and agents of the PDP in the southwest, who were mostly arrested on the eve of the elections, where intimidation became the APCs sole election strategy,” said Secondus.
The fear of more violence continues to surround the vote. At least 39 people were killed during Saturday’s elections, according to civil society groups.
More than 260 people were also killed during election campaign violence between October and February.
Millions of Nigerians anxiously awaited the official presidential election results announcement.
“They should announce the winner. We are tired of being in this tense moment. I can’t concentrate on the things am doing because I am waiting for the result announcement,” Theresa Kemka told Al Jazeera as she sat in front of her shop, eyes glued to a television screen.
“Why are we like this? Other smaller countries like Senegal organise elections and within 24 hours they announce the results,” Kemka said. “Must we disgrace ourselves before the world every time?”
The INEC commenced the official collation of votes on Monday, after a day’s delay, but final results do not appear to be on the horizon.
Civil society groups lamented the slow pace of the electoral commission in releasing the results.
“The late commencement of polls and delivery of voting materials, and security issues are our concerns,” Clement Nwankwo, convener of Situation Room, a monitoring mission made up of more than 70 civil society groups, said.
“This is not an improvement on previous elections conducted in the country,” Nwankwo told Al Jazeera.
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