The Social Democratic Party has accepted the result of the Saturday presidential election result as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
SDP national chairman Shehu Gabam stated this at a news conference on the outcome of the presidential election, in Abuja on Thursday, March 2, 2023.
“However, every party has the right to protest, but we are not party to any protest,” he said.
Gabam said despite the challenges witnessed during the election, SDP stood by INEC’s declaration of Bola Tinubu of APC as Nigeria’s president-elect.
He said that the party came sixth in the presidential election, and won two senatorial and four House of Representatives seats and that, while the party would not challenge the presidential election in court, it would challenge the federal parliamentary polls in places it believed the SDP won.
He pledged the party’s continued support for its candidates in the state elections, expressing the confidence that SDP would win some governorship and state Houses of Assembly seats.
Gabam said SDP was not party to any protests against the February 25 elections and did not issue any directives in that regard.
He noted that the election had its challenges including the use of Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) and the uploading of election results on INEC Result Viewing Portal.
Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, and his Labour Party (LP) counterpart, Peter Obi yesterday rejected the emergence of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as president-elect in last Saturday’s presidential election.
Describing the election as grossly flawed, Tinubu and Obi vowed to challenge the outcome of the poll in court.
Specifically, Atiku said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) failed woefully in conducting the poll, making it the worst conducted election since the return to democracy in 1999.
Atiku who spoke at his first post-election press conference after INEC’s declaration of Tinubu as winner, added that manipulation and fraud that attended the election was unprecedented in the history of the nation.
He said, “This battle to right the wrongs of Saturday is not about me. It is a continuation of my battles to deepen democracy and for a better life for our people. It is about the future of Nigerian youths.
“I know that Nigerians, especially the youth, are traumatized by the developments, but I want to urge them to conduct themselves peacefully. Like I have done over the years, I assure you that I will commit the rest of my life in ensuring that true democracy, which affirms the supremacy of your votes and your will, will take firm footing and guarantee a stable, prosperous and peaceful Nigeria. This is more so as Nigeria represents the hope of Africa and the Black World.
“It is my hope that the judiciary will redeem itself this time around and rise to the society’s expectation as the last HOPE. In the end who wins is not as important as the credibility of our elections and electoral processes.
“I call on all men and women of goodwill to join hands with us in the vanguard to defend our constitution from the brigandage of anti-democratic forces.”
Indicating that he was heading to court, Atiku said his lawyers were already studying the results of the election and whatever they advise, the PDP leadership would meet and then proceed from there.
On whether he has confidence in the judiciary to get justice, he recalled that he took Obasanjo to court 11 times and won him hands down.
“I swear I never saw any judge. Do you think it is possible today to do it? I cannot say whether it is the same judiciary or not until I test them. If I don’t get a favorable judgement at the supreme court I will appeal to God,” he stated.
The former vice president said he was not aware of any reconciliation overtures from Tinubu.
“I am not aware that governors tried to reach me. I was at home all through,” he stated in reaction to reports that some governors tried to appease him as part of the national reconciliation move by Tinubu.
On whether he regretted not working with Obi, Atiku who noted that the Labour Party candidate left the PDP too early, however added that he is open to an alliance talks with Obi.
He added that as much as Obi took PDP’s votes in the South East and South South, “that, of course, will not make him president.”
“To be president you need votes across Nigeria. Peter is welcome to dialogue with PDP; we are ready to dialogue with him on whether to form an alliance or not.”
He added that if Obi had stayed back in PDP, he could have fought the governors to retain him as running mate just like he did in 2019.
He recalled that he was the first candidate to commit to forming a government of national unity.
Atiku, who recalled that he had contested for president in the past with Igbo politicians as running mates, said “I will be stepping stone to Igbo president”
He added that he told Igbo leaders that they should “Negotiate for power, you don’t fight for it.”
On the just concluded election he said, “The 2023 presidential election presented our nation and its people the greatest opportunity for a reset. We had everything going for us: a legal framework in the 2022 Electoral Act and the BVAS technology. The enthusiasm of Nigerians to turn out and in large numbers was an added bonus.
“However, the dreams and aspirations of Nigerians who braced all the challenges to go and cast their votes on Saturday, 25th of February, 2023, were shattered by the conduct of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which failed to live up to expectations. The weekend election was neither free nor fair.
“Preliminary assessments indicate that it is the worst conducted elections since the return to democratic rule. The manipulation and fraud that attended this election was unprecedented in the history of our nation.
“I can still not understand why the electoral umpire was in such a hurry to conclude collation and announcement of the result, given the number of complaints of irregularities of bypassing of the BVAS, failure of uploading to the IREV, and unprecedented cancellations and disenfranchisement of millions of voters in breach of the Electoral Act and the commission’s own guidelines. It was indeed a rape of democracy.
“Having consulted with leaders of our party and Nigerians from different walks of life, I have come to the conclusion that the processes and outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly election of last Saturday was grossly flawed in every material particular, and as such must be challenged. This has been attested to by both local and international observers.
“I want to believe that this was not the legacy that President Muhammadu Buhari had promised. For President Buhari, it is not too late to make amends for the good of our country and the future generations and indeed to assure his legacy.”
Earlier yesterday, PDP asked the INEC to immediately withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The party also reiterated its call for the cancellation of the Presidential election declaration in line with its powers under Section 65 of the Electoral Act 2022.
The party stated this this while rejecting the declaration and return of the presidential candidate of APC, Tinubu, as president-elect as INEC.
National publicity secretary of PDP, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, in a statement said, “The PDP demands that INEC immediately withdraws the Certificate of Return issued to the Presidential Candidate of the APC and cancel the Presidential election declaration in line with its powers under Section 65 of the Electoral Act 2022.”
The party insisted that INEC in declaring the APC Presidential Candidate as winner, acted contrary to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act 2022 and the INEC Guidelines and Regulations for the conduct of the 2023 Presidential election.
On his part, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Obi insisted that he won the 2023 presidential election adding that he will reclaim his mandate.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja yesterday, Obi however said the 2023 presidential election would go down as the most controversial election in the History of Nigeria.
He said, “We won the election. We will explore all legal action to reclaim our candidate,” Obi said, adding that he has been asked to go to the court and will prove how he won the election.
“We were told that about 11 million registered in 2022 which pushed the voters to around 94 million. But 70 million collected their PVCs to vote. I have confidence in the judiciary because I’ve been in the court since 2003. They know their custom, I am going to do the right thing”.
Obi said it was not possible that Nigeria would conduct an election 63 years after independence and the poll would be like last Saturday’s presidential poll.
He told his supporters that the election coming up on March 11 should be accorded the same seriousness.
Obi thanked them for working hard work, assuring all Obidient who believe a new Nigeria is possible that a new Nigeria is indeed possible.
“Myself and Datti are committed to a new Nigeria. I don’t know how they feel now, but the unwanted attack shows that a new Nigeria is possible seeing Jenifer who was attacked but ensures she voted.
“It is a clear violation of the electoral rule and guidelines that we were assured of,” Obi said.
Noting that the presidential poll will go down as the most controversial election ever conducted in Nigeria, Obi urged Nigerians to remain peaceful and humble, saying it was not the end, but the beginning of a journey for a better and a new Nigeria.
Vowing to go to court, Obi said, “We insisted that we will be governed by the rule of law. We will explore all legal action to reclaim our candidate. We won the election. We will build a country,” Obi said he is not in alliance with any political party.
“We are not in talk with other parties we are meeting as aggrieved parties. If we use the process we used today in the election, how are we going to arrest the kidnappers? On this issue, I am challenging the process”.