Speech of Mr. Dele Alake, Special adviser on media and communication of the APC PCC at a Press Conference in Abuja on March 3, 2023.
Gentlemen of the press,
It has become necessary to address you again today to respond to both the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, following their separate press conferences which held yesterday.
We must thank the two of them for finally opting for the rule of law as against the initial belligerent posture as they continue their baseless journey of chasing after a mirage. Those who lay claim to democratic credentials are expected to be conscious of those inimitable minimum requirements of law and order even in the face of a perceived injustice. The initial knee-jerk and hothead call for anarchy by their proxies was ill-advised and would in no way serve any noble cause. It is good to know that reason has prevailed.
Let us say, unequivocally, that we welcome the decision of both the PDP and LP and also the NNPP candidates to test their claims, as ridiculous as they are, in the court of law as provided for by our constitution. This is without prejudice to the conciliatory efforts of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He has reiterated in his post declaration speeches the need for all Nigerians, irrespective of whom we all voted for, to rally quickly together for the good of our country.
We must say, however, that listening to both Atiku and Obi yesterday left us in the APC family confounded. We understand that there has been an orchestrated campaign by the acolytes of PDP and LP in the media to discredit the Presidential election. What we did not expect is that the two presidential candidates and, indeed, their political parties, would shamefully re-echo the puerile and unimaginative arguments that are being canvassed by political illiterates and mischief-makers who are crying wolf on the social media.
As we all can see, these two otherwise experienced politicians are pinpointing lack of adherence to the guidelines as basis for discrediting the votes lawfully cast by Nigerians. We shall examine the so-called process that was purportedly breached by the electoral body and how it, in their wild imagination, undermined the credibility of the election.
The claim that INEC did not use the BVAS is false. Those who voted across Nigeria, including Atiku and Obi, were accredited by BVAS. Save for bad losers that these two people have proven to be, we should rather be celebrating the tremendous improvement the use of BVAS has brought to our electoral process.
The complaint over the electronic transmission of the result is not supported by law.
Section 38 of the Electoral Acct 2022 referred to by the PDP and LP has nothing to do with transmission of election results. Section 60, subsection 2 of the Act deals with transmission of results and it is at the discretion of INEC. The Act does not contain any mandatory provision regarding the transmission of results.
In any case, the process of transmitting results from polling units, whether real-time, two days later or at any time, cannot in anyway change the results that have been announced right after the counting in the presence of the parties’ agents and to the hearing of the voters. It is, therefore, nonsensical to insinuate that time variation in uploading results would cause a change in the figures.
The 2023 Presidential election is a watershed as it produced unprecedented outcomes and defied conventions. The deployment and use of BVAS is the only reason the elections produced these strange outcomes and upsets in many cases. The loss of Katsina and Lagos to PDP and LP respectively were contrary to expectations. BVAS brought the intended credibility to voters’ accreditation such that many governors and well-established politicians lost elections in what should be safe bet areas. The era of ghost-voting and stuffing of ballot boxes is gone. As the experience in the last governorship election in Osun State has shown, over-voting would automatically lead to outright cancellation of the results of the polling units based on the provision of the new Electoral Act. The same PDP that is trying to pull the wool across the face of Nigerians was the culprit in the Osun State governorship election. Did they try to do it this time and it failed? Or did they do it in the areas they unexpectedly won? Did they have a grand plan to hack the INEC server if results were uploaded in real time? Nigerians will soon find out.
Contrary to the false claims of Atiku and Obi, the reasons for losing the elections were foretold. Besides the delusional expectations created during the campaigns to hoodwink the public, most PDP leaders knew their party had been decimated by Mr. Peter Obi. The South East and South South that were traditional strongholds of PDP constituted the core support base for the Labour Party. PDP went into this election without its limbs and lied to itself that it could win the race. It is worthy of note that Atiku also accepted this fact during his press conference yesterday, when he lamented that his party’s votes in the South East and South South regions were carted away by the LP.
The PDP also found itself in No.3 in Kano, with a former member, Kwankwaso running away with over 900,000 votes.
How far could the PDP have gone with what was left of it? Not so far as the results of the elections have shown. The members of G5 were key leaders of the party who had substantial political influence. They also went away with their own pound of flesh, leaving a crippled PDP to scavenge for crumps of votes.
For Obi, he would go down as Nigeria’s most dangerous and divisive politician. He elevated his well-known clannish mentality to a most unfortunate height by openly anchoring his campaign on religion and ethnicity. He presented himself as a poster boy for and a champion of our country’s fault lines. He took advantage of our youths whose expectations are fast paced, who are uninterested in excuses, and who were in search of a hero. He pumped up their sentiments and rode on their emotions while grandstanding as a saviour. It was a false pretence. Obi’s credentials are eternally stained as a former governor with no remarkable legacy.
Not a few of our youths thought Peter Obi looked like the leader they wanted and many of them could not tolerate any form of scrutiny of their newfound hero. They chose wilfully to canonise him while insisting no one should ask questions. The combination of the disgruntled youths, the ethnic champions, and commercial clerics were the reason Obi thought he could win a presidential election in Nigeria. Such illogic is not strange to the Labour Party.
If Labour Party could not fill up its quota for polling booth agents with a shortfall of over 40, 000, how did it intend to compete with political parties like APC and PDP? It would be interesting to see what evidence of rigging Labour Party will present before the court when the party could not appoint agents to monitor nearly a quarter of the venues of election.
As we look forward to an encounter with both the PDP and LP at the court, we want to enjoin the two of them to pursue their grievances with decorum. They should encourage their members, supporters, and ethnic and religious consultants to follow the path of the rule of law.
We note that both Atiku and Obi are claiming victory, wouldn’t it make sense for them to agree who the actual winner is before challenging APC in court?
Meanwhile, the APC train has left the station as we continue our effort to make Nigeria better for all Nigerians.
Thank you all for listening.