CSOs disagree with INEC’s declaration that Tinubu is the new president.
Two coalitions of Civil Society Organizations, or CSOs, fiercely disagreed yesterday in Abuja about the legitimacy of the previous Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections, resulting in a conflict of interests.
18 CSOs had earlier in the day protested outside the INEC headquarters and demanded an investigation into the organization’s estimated N305 billion election budget.
The 18 CSOs rejected the election results, calling it a farce and re-electing Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Party, APC.
The Coalition of Civil Society Organizations for Tinubu/Shettima 2023, in contrast, asserted that the election was the most free in Nigerian electoral history.
The Democratic Youth Initiative, the Forum for Social Justice, the Movement for the Promotion of Democracy, the Protect Nigeria Movement, and 18 other CSOs carried their protest to INEC’s headquarters under the leadership of Isiaku Nathaniel Balogun and Dada Olayinka Olabode.
Others were the Alliance for Peoples Welfare, Onward Nigeria Movement, Defenders of Democracy, Human Rights Crusaders, Democratic Rights Assembly, and Voter’s Rights Assembly.
“Before February 25, 2023, Nigerians had high aspirations that the conduct of the election was going to be a pattern for the rest of Africa,” Olabode said in a petition he presented to the commission.
He claimed that INEC, the electoral body charged with conducting free, fair, and transparent elections, dashed hopes.
“Prior to the election, INEC had assured Nigerians that election results would be transmitted electronically to their server from the polling places across the 176,846 available,” Olabode said. “INEC had also promised that their staff is well-trained, motivated, and psychologically prepared for the task.
“INEC asserted that the BVAS technology will be successfully used to prevent rigging and overvoting. These were the main pillars on which Nigerians based their enthusiasm for and confidence in the election of their leaders.
Unfortunately, events during and following the elections would show that INEC fell short of expectations and deceived Nigerians.
“It is clear that INEC misled Nigerians into thinking the commission was ready for the election when in fact it was not, despite receiving over N305 billion in tax payer money to conduct the elections.
“It is easy to infer, then, that INEC not only ran the worst election in Nigeria’s history to date, but also openly conned the electorate. Additionally, INEC blatantly ignored the Electoral Act’s rules and regulations as well as its own rules and regulations.
“Therefore, the 2023 election cannot be deemed to have been free, fair, credible, or transparent. The Coalition of Civic Societies of Nigeria, an umbrella group including 18 others requests immediate resignation of Prof. Mahmoud Yakub and also total revocation of the fraudulent results announced by him.
The LP “out-rigged itself”
The Coalition of Civil Society Organizations for Tinubu/Shettima 2023, which defended the election as free, fair, and credible, responded by alleging that the opposition Labour Party outdid itself in election rigging by being so blatant in its abuse of electoral rules.
At a briefing yesterday in Abuja, the coalition’s leaders, Dr. Lilian Ene Ogbole and Okpokwu Ogenyi, made this declaration.
Dr. Ogbole responded to Labour Party assertions that it had won the election by saying, “The LP rigged out of control, especially in the South East. The election tampering was concentrated in the South East this year. They regarded rigging as a right.