By Emmanuel Oloniruha
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday in Abuja called on INEC to review the March 18 Ogun governorship election result.
Its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Debo Ologunagba told a news conference that the party rejected the declaration of Gov. Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the election.
He said the PDP reviewed the election and observed that the result declared by INEC was completely at variance with the provisions of the Electoral Law 2022 and the Commission’s guidelines for the conduct of elections.
He said that specifically from the summary of collated results, PDP’s candidate, Mr Oladipupo Adebutu, was in clear lead before the process was compromised.
He alleged INEC officials were compromised to cancel PDP’s thousands of winning votes and brazenly declared Abiodun of APC as winner in violation of the provisions of the Electoral Law 2022.
Ologunagba said with the cancelled votes, the margin of lead between Abiodun and Adebutu was not in excess of the total number of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) collected at polling units where election did not hold or cancelled.
INEC cancelled the exercise in some polling units citing disruption of polls.
“Whereas the number of PVCs collected in places where elections were not held or cancelled is 33,750, the margin of lead between the two candidates as announced by INEC is 13,915.
“This invalidates the declaration and return made by INEC.
“The Electoral Law 2022 expressly mandates INEC to appoint a new date for the conduct of the polls in polling units where election did not hold or cancelled before any return can be made,’’ Ologunagba said.
He said that Section 24 (3) of the law provided that where there was substantial disruption of election or it was impossible to continue with the election the commission should fix a new date.
“The section states that: `the Commission shall suspend the election and appoint another date for the continuation of the election or the process’,’’ he said.
Ologunagba added that the law stated that where INEC fixed a substituted date for fresh election there should be no return for the initial election until polling had taken place in the area or areas affected.
“The hurried declaration of the APC candidate by INEC as winner is, therefore, a declaration made contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Law 2022 and Regulations and Guidelines stipulated by INEC for the election.
“In such situation, the option available to INEC is to exercise its powers under Section 65 (1) of the Electoral Law 2022 to review the wrongful declaration and Return made within seven days,’’ he said.
Ologunagba said it was condemnable that INEC would cancel PDP’s winning votes and return Abiodun in gross violation of the law and total disregard for the will of the people as expressed at the election.
He said that the people of Ogun were unwilling to accept a declaration that did not reflect their expressed will at the election. (NAN)