Members of the Peoples Democratic Party surrounded the INEC office in Abuja on Monday to protest the results of the presidential election on February 25 that the party’s standard-bearer, Atiku Abubakar, and his Labour Party rival, Peter Obi, claimed to have won.
The All Progressives Congress candidate, Bola Tinubu, was declared the victor of the election by the electoral commission after receiving a total of 8, 794, 726 votes, although the PDP and LP criticized the outcome and threatened to fight it in court.
Leading the protest march with Iyorchia Ayu, the national chairman of the party, Aminu Tambuwal, Darius Ishaku, the governors of Taraba and Sokoto states, and other chieftains, Atiku once more rejected the declaration of Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos State, as the president-elect and vowed that the protest would go on indefinitely.
In addition to party leaders, the march included former PDP National Chairman Uche Secondus, Senator Dino Melaye, former Imo State Governor Emeka Ihediaha, and former Adamawa State Governor Boni Haruna.
Addressing to reporters in front of INEC’s offices, Atiku also promised that the demonstration will go on.
According to Atiku, “All the provisions of the current electoral law have been completely contravened. We were protesting and then INEC was not listening and went on to announce the result. That is why we are protesting. We have the right to protest and it will continue for a very long time, either every day or any other day. We have the right to protest under the constitution, and it doesn’t stop us from going to the court.’’
In a complaint letter, the PDP urged INEC to avoid tampering with the upcoming elections for the state houses of assembly and governorship.
Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairperson Voter Education and Publicity, received the letter on behalf of Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, INEC National Chairman.
“We call on your commission to suspend the ongoing transmission of the polling unit results to your servers, which is in complete violation of the requirements of the Electoral Act 2022,” said Ayu, the PDP National Chairperson.
“We reject and declare as unacceptable the outcome, announcement and declaration of the presidential election results.
“We want to warn your commission against a repeat of the experiences of the February 25 election in the coming governorship and state assembly elections of March 11, 2023. Any attempt to manipulate the electoral process will be vehemently resisted.
“We demand an explanation why you proceeded with the declaration of the election results marred by irregularities against all calls to address the complaints brought to your attention before and during the collation process.’’
Ayu stated that Nigeria should be viewed as a nation governed by the rule of law and that the party owed it to the country’s citizens while denouncing the alleged absurdity that characterized the presidential election.
He urged all Nigerians, both at home and abroad, to resolutely defend their rights, votes, and “stolen mandate.”
“We call on all Nigerians to be co-partners in defense of our democracy, votes, the rule of law, and their rights to freely choose the candidates of their choice,” the party continued.
Ayu emphasized that INEC must call off the election and hold a new one “that will be respected not only by Nigerians but by the entire international community” when submitting the complaint letter.
“So I have got this protest letter on behalf of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission and I guarantee you that I will forward this letter to him,” Okoye said after receiving the letter.
“If there are remedial issues we will deal with those remedial issues. But I want to assure you that this commission is a listening commission. This commission is a public trust and this commission belongs to the Nigerian people. This commission does not owe allegiance to any political party.
‘’We don’t have any allegiance to any candidate. Our allegiance is to the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I want to thank all of you for the peaceful way this protest has been conducted but I want to plead that all of us should continue to be peaceful and all of us should continue to respect the integrity of the commission and also the integrity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I am going to go and hand over the protest letter to the chairman of the commission and I want to assure you that the commission will meet over this letter, look into it and address some of the issues.”
A significant amount of traffic was backed up around the Maitama axis when the protesters, who were all dressed in black, began their rally from Legacy House.