Controversy Trails Collation Of February 25 Presidential Election By Supporters Of Peter Obi
The dust raised against the February 25, 2023 Presidential Election won by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu by supporters of the two leading opposition parties in the country might not clear so soon.
While some have adjudged the election as the best in Nigeria so far, members and supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party have continued to reject the results, using different avenues to register their grievances against the winner and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which organised the poll.
Both the PDP and the Labour Party claimed that the election was rigged in favour of Tinubu and the APC.
However, controversy has been trailing an independent collation of the presidential election results spearheaded by the supporters of the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi.
What is surprising to many is that this is coming after the PDP and the Labour Party have gone to court to challenge the processes and outcome of the election.
Recall that the INEC declared Tinubu as the President-elect after the 70-year-old polled 8,794,726 votes to defeat his closest rivals, Atiku and Obi, who scored 6,984,520 and 6,101, votes, respectively.
Atiku and Obi have refused to accept defeat in the election, vowing to recover their electoral mandate, which was why they went to court.
The two candidates also repudiated the gesture of conciliation made by Tinubu, who in his acceptance speech after he was declared the winner of the poll, asked them to support him in the task of building the nation.
However, both presidential candidates claimed they had proof to back their claims in court. For the legal battle,The duo engaged a combined team of 89 Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
Sources within the camp of the contending political parties said that the assembling of legal luminaries, drawn from different chambers, are currently being furnished with materials that could be tendered as exhibits in court.
To prove their candidate’s case, supporters of Obi, known better as ‘Obidients’ on the social media, had summoned themselves to independently gather results and show Nigerians that the former Anambra State governor won the presidential poll.
The supporters, spearheaded by one Mark Essien, with the username @markessien on the popular microblogging site, Twitter, had claimed that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System and Election Result Viewing Portal deployed by INEC were not utilised and true election results from different polling units across the country were not what was uploaded on the portal.
Collating results on an independent iReV, with the help of other Obidients, the first set of results shared by Essien showed that Obi was in the clear lead, a development that further justified the claim that their candidate was allegedly rigged out.
“The way things are going, by tomorrow, we would have counted 160,000 polling unit results and done our own collation. All collation officers that thought they could announce anything they wanted did not understand the power of a mass movement,” Essien had tweeted on Thursday.
Trouble however started hours later after the collation showed that Tinubu polled more votes than Obi and Atiku combined and was in the lead against expectation.
With the development, some Obidents turned on Essien and accused him of allegedly working for the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and not for Obi’s cause.
Leading the attack on Essien, a Twitter user with the handle @AfamDeluxo wrote, “Mark Essien is deeply into Nasiru El-rufai’s pocket. Trust whatever you think he is doing for the obidient movement at your own peril. You can go ahead and trust him, that’s fine, I don’t anyone that is friends, or crony with the high and mighty in the APC. Especially someone like Nasiru El-rufai. Never!”
However, the independent IReV portal’s results were later blocked from public view, a development that sparks reactions from Twitter users.
A user, @celestocalculus, said, “Take Mr. Essien’s poll & its eventual result with a pinch of salt. Here’s why: if he’s sourcing the forms from IReV online records, then it’s already sus to begin with. Why? Those records weren’t uploaded from the PU, so they had ample time to beat it up to fit their numbers.
He added, “I know he’s blocked the results from the public but as at right now, 11:18 pm this is what it is. The game is to swing public trust to the website. Build anticipation by hiding the result, then show the final outcome, [maybe] as presented by [the now mostly clear] IReV uploads.
“Finally, it’s really just smokes and mirrors ladies and gents. The game is the game! Allow the Labour Party legal team to do their work and disregard all these distractions, that we all keep looking for to boost our validation.”
@AsiwajuOladimej wrote, “Essien was a good guy when he started the Collation and LP was leading. By the time the result wasn’t going in their favour, they said he is working for APC and El Rufai. Soludo will always be right. Headless Mob
@Sholexx_ wrote, “Obidient dey their own dey nurse their wound. You carry your oversabi say you wan audit Irev results and assured them that Obi won the election. Now, the audit is not “mathing” as you’ve anticipated. You must collect from both Obidient and Agbado hand today.”
@MrOdanz wrote, “So these people were losing at the collation centre they set up for themselves after tallying 90% of the results? I heard they’ve shut it down based on “legal advice” because the results isn’t resulting to what they want.
“Few days ago they were cheering their own INEC chairman (Mark Essien) who wanted to prove to them that their mandate was stolen. Now that the result isn’t going according to plan, they have turned on their INEC Chairman, accusing him of being a saboteur sent by El-Rufai.
“This was the last result from their own collation center. They have suspended collation for now. Only positive thing from this their independent election is that it is clear PDP stole second position from them.”
In all of these, Nigerians are watching and following events as they unfold.
It is believed that the coming days would be as interesting as they come as the court might find it difficult to declare that both Atiku and Obi were elected by Nigerians to lead the country at the same time as they both claimed they won the election.
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