Gathering jumbo votes from his North-west and North-east strongholds, President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) this morning finally subdued his closest rival in last Saturday’s presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
At the completion of collation of results this morning in Abuja, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said Buhari prevailed with 15,191,847 votes to Atiku’s 11,262,978, bringing to a close days of anxiety over the possible outcome of the contest many had thought would be close.
“President Muhammadu Buhari having scored the highest number of votes is hereby declared the winner,” Yakubu said, adding that the certificate of return would be presented to the president-elect and the vice-president-elect at 2pm today.
Out of the president’s haul, 9,234,434 came from the far North zones.
Overall, Buhari put up a good showing, winning 19 states across four of the nation’s six geo-political zones. In his kitty were North-west, North-east, North-central and South-west, conceding 17 states and only South-east and South-south to Atiku.
The states that gave victory to the president are Bauchi, Borno, Ekiti, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Osun, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara.
His main challenger picked majority votes from Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu, Delta, Imo, Ondo, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Taraba and FCT.
The closeness in the number of states won did not help Atiku as unlike Buhari he was unable to poll the big numbers from his South-east and South-south strongholds.
Suffering severe cancellation of polls and results due to violence and Smart Card Reader (SCR) failures, Atiku could only poll 3,926,717 votes from his base. The rest of his ballots that came from Buhari’s comfort zones were too meager to help him carry the day.
For instance, in Atiku’s stronghold of Rivers State, election could not hold in six of its 23 local government areas due a lock down by the military, leaving him with a mere 473, 971 votes.
In the end, Buhari’s margin of win was 3, 928, 869 votes.
Pained by the emerging outcome of the contest, the Deputy Director-General (Administration), PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation and former Minister of Special Duties, Mr. Tanimu Turaki (SAN), had at noon called on INEC to abort collation of result and address concerns of his party.
He demanded that results from Yobe, Zamfara, Nasarawa and Borno States should be cancelled.
He said the electoral umpire should stop the announcement of results until data from the smart card reader accreditation at the polling units are made available to all the parties in the election.
Arguing that in line with his party’s commitment to a transparent, free and fair election, it demands for an immediate halt to the on-going collation of results by INEC.
Turaki said: “The PDP predicates its demand on available evidence to the effect that data from the card readers are being reconfigured to suit the manipulations, rigging and over-voting already carried out during the election in some states by the APC.”
According to him, the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus has communicated the PDP position to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, saying “We have evidence from the smart card reader accreditation data that what is being announced by INEC has been seriously tampered with and manipulated. In the meantime, we demand the immediate and outright cancellation of presidential election results in Yobe, Zamfara, Nasarawa and Borno States as submitted by INEC presiding officers and ask for the conduct of fresh elections in these states.”
The PDP chieftain pointed out that in Yobe, the total number of votes submitted as cast was more than the number of accredited voters, noting that “Whereas the number of accredited voters was 601, 056, the total votes cast was 775, 449.”
According to him, “This is a clear case of over-voting which, by the provisions of the Electoral Act, renders the election null and void. In such instance, the law provides for another election on a day to be fixed by INEC.
“In Zamfara State, no actual voting took place and there was no single result sheet in any polling unit in the entire state. There was an arrest in Shinkafi local government, where an APC member was caught thump-printing ballot papers inside his house.
“Results from the presiding officer from Zamfara were concocted and allocated according to the wishes of the leadership of the APC and INEC,” he alleged.
Emphasising the opposition position, Turaki said: “The PDP therefore demands the outright deletion of the results from Zamfara from INEC records and a conduct of free, fair and credible presidential election in Zamfara State.
“Also in Borno State, there was no election but a figure writing exercise and allocation of results according to the whims and caprices of the APC leaders. We also demand the outright deletion of the results from Borno from INEC records and a conduct of free, fair and credible presidential election in Borno State.
“In Nasarawa, the PDP demands the immediate restoration of our over 157, 000 lawful and valid votes which were unlawfully and arbitrarily cancelled by INEC and the announcement of the actual results from the field.
“Similarly, the PDP demands an immediate restoration of our over 79, 000 valid votes which were unlawfully cancelled by INEC in Kogi State and the announcement of the authentic results inclusive of the restored 79,000 votes.”
Turaki stated further that “In the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the PDP demands the restoration of 27, 000 valid votes unlawfully and arbitrarily cancelled by INEC and a declaration of the authentic result, inclusive of our restored 27, 000 votes.
“In Plateau, the PDP demands the immediate restoration of our over 30, 000 lawful and valid votes, which were unlawfully cancelled, particularly in Jos North and the declaration of the genuine results as delivered at the polling units, inclusive of our 30, 000 restored votes.”
Turaki said his party is therefore calling on Nigerians to disregard the results until INEC provides the data from the smart card reader accreditation at the polling units, conducts fresh election in Borno, Yobe and Zamfara States as well as restore PDP votes in Plateau, FCT, Kogi and Nasarawa States.
“The PDP maintains that from the actual votes delivered at the polling units, which we all have, Nigerians clearly and unequivocally gave their mandate to Atiku Abubakar,” Turaki maintained.
He was ignored as the electoral body proceeded with the exercise and concluded it this morning with the declaration of Buhari as the winner.