Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has faulted the manner in which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has handled the last Saturday’s presidential election.
Obasanjo said that the process of the poll lacks transparency and smacks of attempts to subvert the will of Nigerians who voted at the polls.
The ex-president warned that danger is looming if the shortcomings in the election were not rectified.
Obasanjo made this known in a statement he personally signed, released on Monday, 27th February, titled “An Appeal For Caution And Rectification.”
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and ensure that things are rectified to reflect his promise of having a free and fair elections in Nigeria.
Outcome of the presidential election that held on Saturday, 25th February has been generating dust of controversies. Opposition parties have questioned the authencity of the results being announced by INEC which were mostly collated manually as the Commission could not deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in transmission of polling units results to the Central server for public access as stipulated in the Electoral Act 2022.
Obasanjo alleged that some INEC officials collected what he called “blood money” and are determined to compromise the election outcome.
He said: “I crave the indulgence of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency General Muhammadu Buhari, to make this statement because I have had opportunity to keep him aware of what know is happening and the danger iooming ahead. On many occasions in the past, I have not hesitated to point out lacuna in the action of the President and his government. But as far as the election issues are concerned, the President has proved beyond reasonable doubt that he will want to leave a legacy of free, fair, transparent and credible elections.
“Until last Saturday night, February 25, 2023, the good and noble plan and preparation for the election seemed to be going well. For the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a lot of money was spent to introduce Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), and the Server for immediate transmission of results from polling units.
“It is no secret that INEC officials, at operational level, have been allegedly compromised to make what should have worked not to work and to revert to manual transmission of results which is manipulated and the results doctored.
“The Chairman of INEC may claim ignorance but he cannot fold his hands and do nothing when he knows that election process has been corrupted and, most of the results that are brought outside BVAS and Server are not true reflection of the will of Nigerians who have made their individual choice,” Obasanjo stated.
He said that the elections outght to be declared invalid in places where the BVAS were found to have been manipulated or malfunctioned.
He added that the INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, should have used the opportunity of the election to strengthen his reputation for posterity.
“Where BVAS and Servers have been manipulated or rendered inactive, such results must be declared void and inadmissible for election declaration. Chairman INEC, I have thought that you would use this opportunity to mend your reputation and character for posterity.”
Obasanjo further appealed to President Buhari to rise to the occasion and do the needful to ensure that the electoral exercise is nothing short of a hitch-free and credible poll, reminding him that when the situation goes wrong, it will be his problem and that of the country.
He pleaded with Nigerians to remain calm until the shortcomings are resolved.
“Your Excellency, President Buhari Muhammadu, tension is building up and please let all elections that do not pass the credibility and transparency test be cancelled and be brought back with areas where elections were disrupted for next Saturday, March 4, 2023, and BVAS and Server officials be changed. To know which stations or polling units were manipulated, let a Committee of INEC staff and representatives of the four major political parties with the Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association look into what must be done to have hitch-free elections political parties with the Chairman of Nigerian Bar next Saturday. Mr President, may your plan and hope for leaving a legacy of free, fair, transparent and credible election be realised. Mr President, please don’t let anybody say to you that it does not matter or it is the problem of INEC. On no account should you be seen as part of the collusion or compromise. When the die is cast, it will be your problem and that of the nation. The Chairman of INEC may sneak out of the country or go back to his ivory tower. Your Excellency, thank you for hearing me out.
“Compatriot Nigerians, please exercise patience until the wrong is righted. I strongly believe that nobody will toy with the future and fortune of Nigeria at this juncture.”