Atiku hires US lobbyist to unseat Buhari

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has employed the services of a United States lobbyist firm to advance his challenge of the outcome of the February 23 presidential poll.

President Muhammadu Buhari defeated Atiku with over three million votes in the election but Atiku rejected the results and had challenged same at the presidential election petition tribunal, alleging that the poll was heavily militarised” and results manipulated.

According to a report by Centre for Responsive Politics, CRP, Bruce Fein, former justice department official and his firm Fein & DelValle PLLC registered on March 24 as foreign agents on behalf of PDP and Atiku.

The firm is expected to “encourage Congress and the Executive to forbear from a final declaration and recognition of Nigeria’s February 23, 2019 presidential election until outstanding legal challenges to the initial government of Nigeria assertion that incumbent Buhari was the victor are impartially and independently resolved by the Supreme Court of Nigeria without political or military influence, intimidation or manipulation”.

According to the firm, parts of its services on behalf of Atiku includes to “Meet and consult with members of Congress and staff in an effort to pass House and Senate resolution(s) to forebear from a final declaration and recognition of a winner of the 2019 Nigeria presidential election pending legal challenges to the initial assertion that incumbent Buhari was the victor are impartially and independently resolved by the Nigerian judiciary in accordance with the rule of law and due process, free from military or political influence.

“Draft articles and op-ed pieces to spotlight the issues in Nigeria post-2019 presidential election and to promote the rule of law and due process in resolving electoral disputes in Nigeria.

“Make television and other media appearances to engage in public advocacy discussions of these issues.”

In a letter replying Atiku’s request for their services, the firm said a “Nigerian barrister and trusted confidant of Your-Excellency Dr. Lloyd Ukwu, will assist in the operations of the U.S. Situation Room.”

The firm said its lobbying effort will demonstrate that an Atiku presidency is “the will of the people.”

It added that its services will convince the United States that an “Abubakar presidency” will open a fresh and new chapter in Nigerian politics, while “highlighting the declining rule of law, democracy and clue process in Nigeria under the APC and the current administration.”

Steve Hanke’s report shows Nigeria is sinking under Buhari – PDP

ABUJA- The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has described Steve Hanke’s report which rated Nigeria as the 6th miserable country in the world,  as a vindication of its position “all this while,” saying the nation has sunk into a new low since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed power in 2015.

Hanke, an economist at John Hopkins University, United States of America had in the publication rated Nigeria 6th on the ignoble list of world’s most miserable countries,  behind Venezuela (Ist), Argentina (2nd), Iran (3rd), Brazil (4th) and Turkey (5th), citing the high rate of unemployment in Africa’s biggest nation as the major contributor to her “misery. ”

Buhari

Reacting to the development,  the main opposition party,  through its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan tasked the ruling All Progressives Congress,  APC,  to perish the thought of the planned increment in Value Added Tax,  VAT,  saying such would only make life more difficult for the “already traumatized Nigerians.”

In a chat with our correspondent, the publicity scribe said: “That report is a vindication of the position of the Peoples Democratic Party, all this while. The economy has virtually collapsed under President Buhari and the man is even mooting the idea of piling more pressure on Nigerians.

“Nigerians have never suffered like they are suffering today because those charged with the responsibility of managing the economy have failed completely. They have no idea of what it takes to manage an economy like ours.

“As an opposition party,  we call on the Presidency to take urgent steps to fine-tune the economy, create jobs for our teeming youths if only to justify that a government is in place.

“In the interim,  we advise them to stop their plan to increase VAT as that will only fetch millions of Nigerians additional pain and discomfort.”

While noting that democracy is essentially about the people,  Ologbindiyan expressed worry that rather improving on the living conditions of Nigerians,  “the  APC-led administration of President Buhari appears to be deriving pleasure from inflicting pains and misery.”

He added: “Nigerians can now see that indeed, the PDP don’t just do criticisms for the fun of it. We are talking of a report that searchlighted economies of countries in different continents of the world. Our beloved country is in shambles but there is no doubt we will reclaim it for the people at the appointed time.

INEC Declares Lalong, Ortom, Tambuwal, Ganduje Reelected

Mohammed wins extra election in Bauchi• PDP kicks over KanoIle in Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday finally drew the curtain on governorship elections in four of the seven outstanding states, returning Governors Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Simon Lalong (Plateau) and Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano) as elected for second term.
Three states, Bauchi, Adamawa and Rivers, however, remain contentious.In Bauchi, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate, Senator Bala Mohammed, won the supplementary election held on Saturday, increasing his votes haul at the March 9 poll that puts him ahead of Governor Mohammed Abubakar, who seems to have lost out in the keen contest.
The only thing standing between Abubakar and eventual defeat is the restraining order he secured last week from an Abuja court, which restrained INEC from resuming the collation and announcement of the results of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area, a stronghold of the PDP.
That litigation is expected to be resolved today as the court listens to the PDP’s position on the matter.
Supplementary elections had held on Saturday in some units in Bauchi, Benue, Plateau, Sokoto and Kano States.
The two leading parties, PDP and All Progressives Congress (APC), won two apiece. The ruling APC retained its hold on Kano and Plateau States, while the main opposition PDP retained Benue and Sokoto States.
Although the PDP sustained its lead in Bauchi, the announcement of the winner of the governorship polls by INEC is pending today’s court judgment on the result of the Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area.The presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has described the victory of the candidates of the party in both Sokoto and Benue States as an acknowledgement from the Nigerian people that it is the only truly national party in Nigeria.
But his party rejected the outcome of Kano’s poll, saying it was a rape of democracy.
Announcing the result of the Sokoto State contest at Maccido Quranic Institute in Sokoto, the Returning Officer, Prof. Fatima Mukhtar of Federal University, Dutse in Jigawa State, said Tambuwal of the PDP polled 512,002 votes against his closest rival, Alhaji Ahmad Aliyu Sokoto of APC who polled 511,660.
Mukhtar said Tambuwal having scored the highest lawful votes has been returned elected.
She added that the votes registered were 1,887,767; accredited votes were 1,083,413, valid votes, 1,036332; rejected votes, 31,662, and number total votes cast were 1,067,994
According to her, during the re-run election, PDP’s Tambuwal polled 22,444 votes while APC’s Aliyu scored 25,515 in the 135 polling units where supplementary elections were conducted.
She further explained that 49 candidates from other participating parties shared the remaining votes cast.
However, the APC agent at the collation centre, Alhaji Maigari Dingyadi, raised the complaints the party made to INEC earlier about the malfunctioning card reader at a polling unit in Tambuwal.Dingyadi added that election was repeated at the polling unit, after lawful election was conducted on March 9 election.
The PDP agent, Alhaji Umar Bature, dismissed the objections on the grounds that the collation centre was not the right place to lodge the complaint.
Mukhtar noted the complaint and said that it would be reflected in the final report.
Reacting to his victory, Tambuwal said he dedicated the victory to Almighty Allah and the people of the state who found him worthy of their mandate.
He stated that he would run an inclusive government to improve the lives of his people.
“This is the beginning of good things that will happen to the state. I will not take the mandate for granted,” he said.
He pleaded with his opponents to join hands with him in building the state, saying he is not better than them but in any contest there must be winner and loser.
The governor advised his supporters to be magnanimous in victory, stressing that they should not jeopardise the existing peace in the state.
In Benue State, Ortom of the PDP was declared the winner by the state’s Returning Officer, Prof. Sabastine Maimako, having polled 434,473 votes to beat his closest contender, Hon. Emmanuel Jime of APC, who polled 345,155 votes.
According to Maimako, the margin of lead between Ortom and Jime was 89,813.
In his acceptance speech, Ortom said he has dedicated his victory to God by visiting the Redeemed Church of God, Gboko Road, where he offered prayers immediately the result was announced.Wild jubilation greeted the announcement as major areas of Makurdi town were blocked by his supporters, who were singing his campaign songs.
Meanwhile, the APC has announced that it will be heading to the tribunal.
The party in a statement by its campaign secretary, Professor Eugene Aliegba, indicated that it would seek all constitutional and legal means to claim victory.
According to him, “Because the results announced in favour of Governor Ortom and the PDP is a direct product of brutal violence, vote buying, ballot-stuffing, results-falsification, non-use of the card reader and a range of other irregularities that have no place in our electoral laws; we are making it unequivocally clear that the Benue APC will explore all constitutional and legal options available to ensure the votes of the people count.
“In simple terms, we will make a case before the Elections Petitions Tribunal to subject the Benue governorship elections result to an integrity test. If we opt otherwise, we will be as guilty as those who undertake acts that undermine democracy. We have chosen instead to take action that insulates democracy from practices that threaten it.”
In Bauchi State, the candidate of the PDP, Senator Mohammed was declared the winner of the governorship supplementary election held on Saturday in the state.
The result from the supplementary election collated in the 36 Polling Units in 29 Wards across 15 Local Government Areas of the state saw the candidate of the PDP won with 6,376 votes with his closest rival, the candidate of the APC and incumbent governor, Abubakar polling 5,117 votes.According to the results announced by the State Returning officer, Prof. Kyari Mohammed, Senator Mohammed led Abubakar with 1,259 votes to emerge the winner of the supplementary elections.
THISDAY checks revealed that  no fewer than 22,641 registered voters were supposed to vote in the supplementary election in 36 Polling Units in 29 Registration Areas (wards) scattered across 15 of the 20 LGAs of the  state.
It would be recalled that the returning officer of the elections in the state, Prof. Kyari Mohammed, had in the early hours of Monday, March 11, 2019, declared the governorship election in the state as inconclusive.
According to him, the candidate of the PDP got 469,512 votes to lead his closest rival, the incumbent governor, who got 465, 453 votes, adding that the margin of lead between the two candidates was 4, 059 votes.
THISDAY had also reported that Prof. Mohammed had earlier cancelled the entire votes of Tafawa Balewa LGA, which has 139,240 registered voters, citing the failure of the Collation Officer, Mrs. Dominion Anosike, to use the prescribed form to enter the result of the elections collated across the local government.
This was despite the explanation given by her to the commission that the result sheets for the governorship election were carted away by thugs who invaded the collation centre in Zwall, Tafawa Balewa LGA, in the early hours of Sunday.She had also notified the commission via an explanatory memorandum signed by all stakeholders in the election at the collation centre, who unanimously agreed to collate and record the result on another form, and addressed same to the Resident Electoral Commissioner and the State Returning Officer, which was submitted in Bauchi on Sunday.
However, Kyari, rejected the explanation and unilaterally declared that there was no result for Tafawa Balewa LGA and cancelled the election of the entire LGA even though there was no any incident of cancellation, violence or electoral malpractices at both the polling units and wards levels as reported by the Returning Officer.
The PDP candidate was in the lead after results of 19 LGAs were collated, with the incumbent governor trailing behind with a margin of over 4,000 votes.
In the contentious Tafawa Balewa LGA, the PDP had scored 40,000 votes against the APC’s 29,000, putting the PDP ahead with about 15,000 votes.
Announcing the results of the supplementary elections yesterday, the Returning Officer, Prof. Mohammed said: “As you well know, I cannot make a return because I understand that the case of Tafawa Balewa LGA is in court.”
The Federal High Court, Abuja will deliver a final judgment on the results of Tafawa Balewa LGA today.

APC Retains Kano, Plateau Governorship Seats

Governor Lalong of Plateau State was declared winner of the rerun gubernatorial election in the state after gathering 595,582 votes to his closest rival, Jeremiah Useni, a retired Army General and candidate of PDP’s, 546,813 votes.
The Returning Officer, Prof. Richard Kimbir, presented the result yesterday in Jos on behalf of the INEC.
“The valid votes totalled 1,159,954, with the rejected votes standing at 16,188, while the total votes cast was 1,176,142,” he said.
The margin of victory between Lalong and Useni is 48,769 votes.
The gubernatorial election held on March 9 in Plateau was declared inconclusive.
This had led to a rerun election in 40 polling units in nine local government areas of the state.
In Kano, Ganduje was declared winner, scoring 1,033,695 votes to his closest rival of the PDP, Abba Yusuf’s 1,024,713.

But the PDP yesterday rejected the Kano result, insisting that its candidate, Yusuf, was the rightful winner of the election and said any declaration that did not reflect such cannot stand.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement yesterday said the so-called governorship supplementary election in Kano was a national disgrace and a mere figure allocating exercise by compromised INEC officials, who collaborated with power drunk politicians in the APC to award results to the APC candidate.
The party, therefore, cautioned INEC against any attempt to import contrived figures from the March 23 rerun as such would be a clear recipe for anarchy and serious crisis in the state.
Ologbondiyan stated: “The whole world knows that the PDP and its candidate, Abba Yusuf, won the Kano State governorship election since March 9, 2019, having fulfilled the constitutional requirement of securing the highest number of votes and the statutory 25 per cent in two-third of the state.
“The people of Kano State have a long history of firm resistance against corrupt and oppressive forces. Their will must, therefore, not be stretched in this election.
“The Kano people have abundantly expressed their rejection of the corrupt and incompetent government of Abdullahi Ganduje and his party, the APC, and no amount of machination can cow or force them to abandon their resolve for a new “governor in Abba Yusuf.”

Atiku Congratulates Tambuwal, Ortom

In a related development, the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has described the victories of the candidates of the party in both Sokoto and Benue States as an acknowledgement from the Nigerian people that it is the only truly national party in Nigeria.
Atiku congratulated Tambuwal on his re-election and assured the good people of Sokoto State that they have made the right decision that would see them continue on the path of peace, progress and prosperity.
The former vice president also congratulated Ortom over his re-election, stressing that Ortom is not just a credit to the party, but also an epitome of servant leadership.
According to him, “With him again at the helm of affairs in Benue, the people of the “Breadbasket of the Nation” can look forward to times of refreshing and deliverance.”
Atiku also congratulated his party and all its members on these gains, adding that PDP is the true bastion of democracy and should be encouraged by these victories.
He said: “With unity within its midst, it will together continue to extend the boundaries of democracy and shrink the space occupied by tyranny.”
Atiku, however, shares solidarity with Alhaji Bala Mohammed and Abba Kabir Yusuf, who have made a great showing in Bauchi and Kano States, respectively, saying victory is within reach.
He said they have shown that they are men of the people, while expressing confidence that much good would come out of these men of enviable talents and leadership ability.

INEC, Situation Room Condemn Violence that Characterised Supplementary Elections

Meanwhile, INEC has condemned the electoral violence that characterised the supplementary elections held in some states of the federation.
The supplementary election held on Saturday was described by election observers as a show of shame especially in Kano and Benue States as thugs allegedly supported by some security agents and the ruling APC in the state took over some polling units and chased away voters perceived to be sympathetic to opposition party.
In Kano State, where supplementary governorship was held in 21 local government areas of the state, political thugs chased away voters perceived to be from opposition party.
It was also reported that there was brazen display of weapons by supporters of both parties.
Journalists covering the election too were not spared as some of them were attacked by political thugs.
The situation was the same in Benue State as political thugs destroyed and burnt ballot papers and boxes in some parts of the state where the supplementary election took place.
Also, the local government collation officer for Gboko Local Government Area, Comfort Doshima, was shot by unknown gunmen in Makurdi.
Doshima, a professor and lecturer at the University of Agriculture was on her way to the INEC headquarters, Makurdi, to present results from the local government.
She was rushed to the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, but was later pronounced dead.
However, in an interview with THISDAY yesterday, the Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, insisted that violence negates the tenets if democracy.
According to him, “Violence in any election negates the very tenets of democracy, so is condemnable.”

Despite the electoral body condemning the spate of violence that marred the election, it did not cancel any polling unit distrusted by political thugs.
Also against the violence was the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Which expressed concern over the inability of security forces to stem the incidents of political thuggery and intimidation recorded during the supplementary election in Kano state at the weekend.
The election observer group advised that INEC to ensure that measures are taken to discourage the conduct supplementary elections in future due to the violence and malpractices that is associated with the exercise.
It accused politicians and some officials of the electoral umpire of using the opportunity of such supplementary elections to perpetrate rigging and violence.
While presenting the preliminary report of the group on the supplementary election, the Concerned of the Situation Room, Mr. Clement Nwankwo said the exercise were marred by violence, thuggery and outright intimidation of the electorate by criminal elements.
He added that what was more worrisome is the fact that in some cases such criminality went on despite the presence of security agents.
Nwankwo made particular reference to incidents in Kano state where he said unaccredited party agents and political thugs flooded the polling units and beat up innocent voters.
He said: “Situation Room is further puzzled by the situation in Kano State wherein the deployment of senior Police Officers could not stem the incidents of political thuggery and intimidation. Reports received from our observers showed instances where security personnel, most especially the Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, where challenging security situations were met with inaction.”
He said members of the observer coalition reported incidents in Beli Ward in Rogo Local Government and in Gama Ward in Nasarawa Local Government of Kano state.
According to Nwankwo who was flanked during the press conference in Abuja by alternate chairman of Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Esther Uzoma, said it is a cause for concern that “abuses of electoral process and violence have occurred despite the deployment of top-level Police officials, including a Deputy Inspector General (DIG), 3 Assistant Inspectors General and Commissioners of Police”.
“In the previous elections, the state Commissioner of Police took charge without senior level officers. It is therefore ironic and curious that this level of violence and political thuggery would occur with this quantum of senior Police Officers deployed. Situation Room has always advocated against redeployment of Commissioners of Police ahead of elections.”The Situation Room also said that there were reports of widespread vote buying in Kano and Bauchi States.
It said the incident was more prevalent in Gama Ward, Nasarawa Local Government of Kano State, as seen in PU 035 and was also observed in PU 013, Madangala Ward, Katagum Local Government of Bauchi State.
According to the group, there were reported cases of attempted inducement of observers with cash by agents of leading political parties.
The Situation Room however said that voting took place in relative peace throughout other areas that the supplementary election took place last Saturday.
It also said that this time, the deployment of the military were done in accordance with section 29(3) of the Electoral Act 2010.

Mr Babalele Abdullahi and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

PDP, Atiku in post-election trauma, depression – APC

•PDP’s prayers at tribunal at best hollow, ridiculous — APC
•They didn’t have a Plan B, just wanted to rig the election — KEYAMO
•We’ll reclaim our stolen mandate through the courts — PDP

ABUJA — The All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday, launched a blistering attack on the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its  presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, describing their claim of having won last month’s presidential poll as the hallucinatory outcome of a post-election depression.

Members of the PDP

The APC’s claim was backed by the Muhammadu Buhari Presidential Campaign Organisation, which also charged the PDP of being steeped in post-election trauma.

The claims were, however, robustly rebuffed by the PDP which accused President Buhari of standing on a stolen mandate even as the party affirmed that it was the clear winner in the six states where run-off governorship elections are to be conducted this weekend.

The APC’s attack on the PDP followed revelations in the court affidavit attached to Atiku’s petition at the Presidential Election Tribunal where it was deposed that the PDP candidate won the election by 1.6 million votes. The PDP had claimed that the figure could be verified by data in custody of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Responding to the claim yesterday, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the APC said: “Following the outcome of the Presidential election, during which a vast majority of Nigerians reaffirmed their unshaken belief in President Buhari to continue to steer the affairs of the country for another four years, we have watched in disbelief and utter amusement how the opposition PDP and its Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, have engaged in series of circus shows to cheer up their crestfallen and disillusioned members.

PDP in post-defeat depression  — APC

“While the APC is not oblivious of the PDP’s antics to discredit the credible presidential electoral process, acknowledged by local and international observers, we sympathise with Atiku for the crushing defeat handed him by President Buhari through the votes of Nigerians.

“Judging by Atiku and PDP’s recent utterances and actions, it is now clear that they have slipped into severe depression and post-defeat hallucination that have left many Nigerians questioning their current state of mind.

“After weeks of dilly-dallying, the PDP has woken up to the stark reality of its electoral defeat and decided to follow the constitutional path of filing a petition at the Election Tribunal. However, of all the prayers of Atiku before the Election Tribunal, which are at best hollow, the most ridiculous is his claim that the server of the INEC, indicated he ‘won’ the Presidential election by 1.6million votes.

“A few questions would suffice: Is this phantom figure of 1.6million votes Dubai-invented? Was the result sold to Atiku by his numerous marabouts, who we understand, had assured him that the last election was a done deal for him?

“Most importantly, we note Atiku’s consistent reference to the “INEC server” as if he is the custodian of that platform. Indeed, Atiku’s constant reference to the INEC server should raise concerns as it is becoming apparent that he and the PDP are up for some dastard activities that are targeted at jeopardizing the INEC database and internal storage system. We recall the widespread reported cases of several programmed card readers that were retrieved from some PDP agents and their failed attempt to hack the INEC database in the lead-up to the then postponed presidential election.

“We remind the Atiku and PDP that Nigerians saw through the devious schemes aimed at thwarting their will. Consequently, majority of the voters handed them a harsh verdict — that verdict remains sacrosanct.

“We call on the INEC and the security agencies to be on red alert to ensure that Atiku and the other desperate characters in the PDP are not able to execute their evil plans.”

Where did PDP get its 1.6m votes margin from, asks Keyamo

The assertions of the APC were backed up by the Buhari Campaign which speaking through its spokesman, Mr. Festus Keyamo said: “It is contradictory to their earlier claim that they needed access to INEC server and data base but given that the court refused their plea the big question is that where did they get this phantom figure from?

“The PDP did not have a Plan B and their plan was to rig the election. They should learn to move on from this post-election trauma and prepare for 2023. Just as they never recovered

“They should not be trapped in this trauma, because these figures can only be coming from a mind that is hallucinating.”

We’ll reclaim our stolen mandate through the courts — PDP

Responding to the charges against it, the PDP speaking through its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondinyan vowed that the party would reclaim what it described as its stolen mandate through the courts.

“What did they mean by PDP slipping into depression and hallucination? We are telling them that we will retrieve our stolen mandate whether they like it or not.

“We will go the whole hog to take our states which they declared inconclusive. They know that we won those states and come Saturday, we will claim those states.

“We don’t want to say much about the Presidential election because Nigerians knew what happened. They should not grandstand because at the end of the day,   we are confident of victory. No matter how far a lie travels, truth will eventually catch up with it.”

PDP, Atiku in post-election trauma, depression – APC
President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar

Petition: My case against Buhari, by Atiku

Adds: Evidence coming from statisticians, fingerprint experts, forensic examiners
•Credible allegations of rigging marred Nigeria’s polls, says Campbell, ex-US envoy
•President’s spokesman, Adesina, declines comment

By Clifford Ndujihe & Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA — Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, has told the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had at various stages of the February 23 presidential election, unlawfully allocated votes to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Atiku in the petition he lodged before the petition tribunal sitting in Abuja, said he would adduce oral and documentary evidence to show that results of the election as announced by INEC, especially the votes credited to President Buhari, did not represent the lawful valid votes cast.

He alleged that in some states, INEC, deducted lawful votes that accrued to him, in its bid to ensure that Buhari was returned back to office.

Both Atiku and the PDP said they would call evidence of statisticians, forensic examiners and finger-print experts at the hearing of the petition to establish that the scores credited to Buhari were not the product of actual votes validly cast at the polling units.

Atiku and PDP are the petitioners, while INEC, Buhari and All Progressives Congress, APC, are respondents in the petition.

Nigeria’s elections, bad news for democracy — ex-US envoy

Meanwile, a former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has thumbed down the 2019 presidential election in the country, describing the election as bad news for democracy and feared that its outcome could affect other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, given Nigeria’s influence in the region.

In a 701-word election post-mortem for the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC, Campbell also said that the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar may not win at the tribunal because “Buhari’s margin of victory, some four million votes is so large that it is unlikely courts will overturn the result.”

Presidency declines comment

Contacted over Mr Campbell’s remarks, President Buhari’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina declined comments.

“I can’t comment now  because I have not seen the article,” he said.

Atiku, PDP’s petition

“The petitioners plead and shall rely on electronic video recordings, newspaper reports, photographs and photographic images of several infractions of the electoral process by the respondents,” they added.

Specifically, the petitioners serialised results recorded from each state of the federation in order to prove that the alleged fraudulent allocation of votes to Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC, took place at the polling units, the ward collating centres, local government collating centres and the state collating centres.

Atiku contended that proper collation and summation of the presidential election results would show that contrary to what INEC declared, he garnered a total of 18,356,732 votes, ahead of Buhari who he said got a total of 16,741,430 votes.

“The petitioners shall rely on the evidence of statisticians, forensic examiners and other experts, detailing the data analysis on the votes at all levels of collation, from the polling units to the final return.

“The petitioners state that Smart Card Readers deployed by the 1st respondent, in addition to accreditation, equally transmitted electronically the results of voting from polling units directly to the server of the 1st respondent. The Presiding Officers of the 1st respondent directly inputted the results from the polling units at the end of voting and transmitted directly to the server, in addition to manually taking the Form EC8As to the Wards for collation. The 1st respondent is hereby given notice to produce the records of results from each polling unit uploaded and transmitted electronically by officials of the 1st respondent through smart card readers to the 1st respondent’s servers.

“The petitioners plead and rely on the 1st respondent’s Manual Technologies 2019, and notice is hereby given to the 1st Respondent to produce same at the trial. The 1st Respondent’s agents at the polling units used the Smart Card Reader for electronic collation and transmission of results. The Petitioners plead and shall rely on and play at the trial, the video demonstration by the 1st Respondent of the deployment of Smart Card Reader for authentication of accreditation and for transmission of data.

“The petitioners hereby plead and rely upon the extract of data as contained on the 1st Respondent’s servers as at 25th February 2019, notice to produce whereof is hereby given to the 1st Respondent.  The Petitioners also will rely on the data on the 1st Respondent’s central server between 25th February 2019 and 8th March 2019 and hereby also give notice to produce same before this Honourable Court.

“The petitioners hereby plead the electronic data on the servers of the 1st respondent and shall at the trial give evidence of the source of the data analysis and data material, including the website: http://www.factsdontlieng.com.

“The 1st respondent had on the day of election published the total number of registered voters in the entire country as 84,004,084. Subsequently, the same 1st respondent published a different figure of 82,344,107 as registered voters, leading to an unexplained difference of 1,659,977 registered voters. The 1st Respondent equally published the number of permanent voter’s cards (PVC) collected for the purpose of the presidential election as 72,775,502.

“The petitioners state that whereas the actual number of voters accredited at the election was 35,098,162, the 1st respondent wrongly suppressed and/or reduced the number of accredited voters to 29,394,209 to the detriment of the petitioners.

“The 1st respondent had by its Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2019 made pursuant to the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) provided for the mandatory use of card readers for the said election. The 1st respondent by its press release on smart card readers issued in February 2019 and signed by its National Commissioner,  Festus Okoye, emphasised and reiterated that “The use of the Smart Card Reader is not only mandatory but its deliberate non-use attracts the sanction of possible prosecution of erring officials in accordance with the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of elections.

“This is in addition to the voiding of any result emanating from such units or areas as was done in the Presidential and National Assembly elections of February 23, 2019.” By this stated position of the 1st respondent, all accreditation not done by smart card reader in the presidential election was and remain void.

“The petitioners state and contend that the 2nd respondent was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election; and that from the data on each State of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, in the 1str respondent’s server, the 1st petitioner, as opposed to the 2nd respondent, scored majority of lawful votes cast at the election.

“Wherefore, the petitioners pray jointly and severally against the respondents as follows:-

“That it may be determined that the 2nd Respondent (Buhari) was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast in the said election and therefore the declaration and return of the 2nd Respondent by the 1st Respondent as the President of Nigeria is unlawful, undue, null, void and of no effect.

“That it may be determined that the 1st petitioner (Atiku) was duly and validly elected and ought to be returned as President of Nigeria, having polled the highest number of lawful votes cast at the election to the office of the President of Nigeria held on 23rd February 2019 and having satisfied the constitutional requirements for the said election.

“An order directing the 1st respondent to issue Certificate of Return to the 1st petitioner as the duly elected President of Nigeria.

“That it may be determined that the 2nd respondent was at the time of the election not qualified to contest the said election.

“That it may be determined that the 2nd Respondent submitted to the commission affidavit containing false information of a fundamental nature in aid of his qualification for the said election.”

In the alternative, he prayed: “That the election to the office of the President of Nigeria held on February 23, 2019 be nullified and a fresh election ordered.”

Credible allegations of rigging marred Nigeria’s polls — Campbell

Campbell, who also served as US Department of State foreign service officer from 1975 to 2007, said the election was “marred by historically low turnout and credible allegations of rigging,” adding that from Situation Room’s report, the election fell below the 2015 presidential election standards.

The article read in part: “Nigeria’s latest presidential election cycle has been bad news for democracy in Africa’s most populous country and across the continent. Though President Buhari won the election, it was marred by historically low turnout and credible allegations of rigging.

“Buhari and his main challenger, former Vice President Abubakar, both Muslims from the Fulani ethnic group in the country’s North, are part of the political class that has dominated Nigeria since independence in 1960. Their contest meant there would be no generational leadership change in a country where the average age is 18 and half of registered voters are under 35.

“Buhari and Abubakar are the standard-bearers for two political parties descended from the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida: the APC and PDP, respectively. Both parties are undemocratic in spirit and function primarily to contest elections rather than to promote legislation or policy. During their campaigns, the candidates and their parties offered little that was new to address security breakdowns caused by Boko Haram in the country’s Northeast; conflict over land use, ethnicity, and religion in the Middle Belt; and the division of oil revenue in the Delta. Moreover, they were mute on climate change, urbanization, and a population boom that is expected to push Nigeria past 450 million people by the middle of the century.

“The Situation Room, an umbrella organisation of Nigerian civil society groups, wrote that the vote marked “a step back from the 2015 general election and actions should be taken to identify what has gone wrong and what can be corrected.

“Nigeria’s influence across sub-Saharan Africa is out-sized. Its population and economy are Africa’s largest; its cultural influence, symbolized by the Nollywood film industry, is far-reaching; and its traditional diplomatic activism, through participation in peace-keeping missions and the regional economic bloc ECOWAS, is consequential.

“When Nigeria transitioned from military to civilian rule in 1999, the effects on West Africa were palpable: coups lost their legitimacy, and the region has pursued a positive democratic trajectory ever since. But the latest presidential election is far from an example for those African countries consolidating their democracies or emerging from quasi-authoritarian regimes to emulate.”

Democracy will not be emasculated in Nigeria – Atiku

I thank the Nigerian people who trooped out in their millions to perform their civic duty this past Saturday. The patriotism of Nigerians is heartwarming and affirms my oft-repeated statement that we are brothers and sisters born from the womb of one mother Nigeria.

Atiku

With regards to the Presidential elections that took place on February 23, 2019, it is clear that there were manifest and premeditated malpractices in many states which negate the results announced.

One obvious red flag is the statistical impossibility of states ravaged by the war on terror generating much higher voter turnouts than peaceful states. The suppressed votes in my strongholds are so apparent and amateurish, that I am ashamed as a Nigerian that such could be allowed to happen. How can total votes in Akwa-Ibom, for instance, be 50% less than what they were in 2015?

Another glaring anomaly is the disruption of voting in strongholds of the Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers and diverse other states, with the authorities doing little or nothing and in some cases facilitating these unfortunate situations.

The militarization of the electoral process is a disservice to our democracy and a throwback to the jackboot era of military dictatorship. In some areas of the country, such as, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Imo states, troops deployed for the elections turned their guns on the very citizens they were meant to protect. This is condemnable and should not be associated with our electoral process in the future.

I am a democrat and there are democratic avenues available to present the truth to the nation and the watching world. Already, many international observers have given their verdicts, which corroborate our observations. I am sure more will come in the coming hours and days.

If I had lost in a free and fair election, I would have called the victor within seconds of my being aware of his victory to offer not just my congratulations, but my services to help unite Nigeria by being a bridge between the North and the South.

However, in my democratic struggles for the past three decades, I have never seen our democracy so debased as it was on Saturday, February 23, 2019. 2007 was a challenge, but President Yar’Adua was remorseful. In 2019, it is sad to see those who trampled on democracy thumping their noses down on the Nigerian people.

Consequently, I hereby reject the result of the February 23, 2019 sham election and will be challenging it in court.

I want to assure my supporters and the entire Nigerian people that together, we will not allow democracy to be emasculated.

I hope and pray Nigerians will someday summon the courage to defend democracy. That is the only way we can move away from being the world headquarters for extreme poverty.

Atiku Abubakar denounces Saturday’s election as ‘sham’ and vows to challenge result

Nigerian opposition leader rejects Buhari’s election victory

Atiku Abubakar denounces Saturday’s election as ‘sham’ and vows to challenge result.

Nigeria’s opposition leader has rejected a claim by the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari that he won the presidential election, denouncing the poll as a “sham” and vowing to mount a legal challenge.

Hours after the president was announced the winner of Saturday’s delayed election, Atiku Abubakar said that the reason he had not called Buhari to congratulate him was because he had “never seen our democracy so debased”.

Atiku – the former vice-president and wealthy businessman is known countrywide by his first name – said there had been “manifest and premeditated malpractices in many states”. He compared the election unfavourably with that of 2007, widely considered the worst in Nigeria’s history, in which Buhari was runner-up and Abubakar came a distant third.

According to the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the People’s Democratic party (PDP) candidate scored 11,262,978 votes to finish second after Buhari of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC), whose 15,191,847 votes secured his reelection for a second term in office.

The elections, Nigeria’s sixth since its return to democracy in 1999, were seen as a referendum on the presidency of Buhari, the tough-talking former general who was also a military head of state in the 1980s. Despite seeming unpopular with large sections of the population, Buhari managed to retain most of his base and do well in opposition strongholds.

The bulk of Buhari’s votes came from four of Nigeria’s 36 states: Kano, Katsina, Kaduna and Kebbi, nicknamed the Kardashian sisters by election observers for their alliterative coincidence with the American celebrity family. The states have consistently given huge margins to Buhari since his first attempt at becoming civilian president in 2003. This time, they contributed a cumulative 4.2m votes – about a quarter of Buhari’s eventual tally.

A man reads a national newspaper announcing the victory of Muhammadu Buhari
 A man reads a national newspaper announcing the victory of Muhammadu Buhari. Photograph: Luis Tato/AFP/Getty Images

Local observers pointed to irregularities and violence during the polls, which continued into Sunday morning in some areas, hours after voting had been concluded in most states.

Adewunmi Emoruwa of The Election Network said the poll fell short of expectations. “The numbers alone are indicting. We have already witnessed a record number of cancelled votes – more than double the numbers from the previous poll – and which is only a reflection of the widespread irregularities across every part of the country. We all observed as thugs had a field day unleashing terror on demographically profiled voters, which led to the suppressed turnout that has been recorded.”

In 2015, Buhari’s predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, called his opponent within hours to congratulate him, a rare occurrence in the country’s intricate and dramatic politics, but Atiku insists he will not go down the same route.

“If I had lost in a free and fair election, I would have called the victor within seconds of my being aware of his victory to offer not just my congratulations, but my services to help unite Nigeria by being a bridge between the north and the south,” he said in a statement released on Wednesday morning.

“In 2019, it is sad to see those who trampled on democracy thumping down their noses on the Nigerian people,” he said. “We will not allow democracy to be emasculated. I hope and pray Nigerians will someday summon the courage to defend democracy.”

If Atiku’s legal challenge is successful, he will be the first person to upturn a presidential poll in the country. His deputy, Peter Obi, was the first person to get a gubernatorial election upturned.

Buhari, who became president on his fourth try in 2015, lost all of his cases at the supreme court after his previous three attempts at the presidency in 2003, 2007 and 2011.

Nigeria election: Muhammadu Buhari re-elected as president

Supporters celebrate at Mr Buhari’s campaign headquarters in Abuja

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has been re-elected for a second four-year term, the election commission says.

The 76-year-old defeated his main rival, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, with a margin of nearly four million votes.

Mr Abubakar’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the result. Turnout was 35.6%.

Delays and violence marred the run-up to Saturday’s poll but no independent observer has cited electoral fraud.

Mr Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) won in 19 of the 36 states while the PDP was victorious in 17 states and in the capital, Abuja, according to the electoral commission (Inec).

“The new administration will intensify its efforts in security, restructuring the economy and fighting corruption,” Mr Buhari said after his victory was officially announced.

The APC had 15.2 million votes while the PDP had 11.3 million.

Supporters of Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari celebrate in Kano, Nigeria, after he won a second term February 26, 2019
There were celebrations in Kano

Some supporters of Mr Buhari took to the streets late on Tuesday in celebration.

Who is Buhari?

A former soldier, Mr Buhari led a military regime for 20 months in the 1980s and was first elected president in 2015, becoming the first opposition candidate to defeat an incumbent and win the presidency.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari
Muhammadu Buhari was first elected president in 2015 (file photo)

His record in office is mixed. Mr Buhari’s critics say that the very attributes that won over voters four years ago – his strictness and inflexibility – have emerged as liabilities. They accuse him of autocratic leanings as well as a disastrous tendency towards inaction.

Mr Buhari’s supporters can argue that he has largely delivered on campaign pledges such as tackling corruption and cracking down on Boko Haram. But they may struggle to point to concrete achievements in other fields, such as fixing the economy.

Tough challenges ahead

By Fergal Keane, BBC Africa editor

The breadth and depth of corruption is so great, it affects so many aspects of public life that making serious inroads into the problem would require a focus, energy and application that was lacking in President Buhari’s first term.

The second problem he faces in fighting corruption is having the necessary political support. There is undoubted public backing but Mr Buhari’s party is compromised by senior members suspected of enriching themselves through graft. The fear is that across the board the looters will carry on pretty much as normal.

Economically, ending the dependency on oil revenues needs to happen at a much faster pace. The World Bank has predicted sluggish economic growth: 2.2% for the coming year in a country with unemployment of more than 20% and nearly half the population living in extreme poverty

President Buhari also faces an array of security threats from clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the Middle Belt, continuing instability in the Niger Delta and – most worrying of all – a revived threat from Islamic extremists in the north of the country.

What are the main issues?

Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy faces a range of problems including power shortages, corruption, security threats, and an economic slowdown.

Nigeria is Africa’s leading oil producer but corruption and a failure to invest the proceeds from the industry have hampered development.

A slow recovery from a recession in 2016 means there are not enough jobs for the large number of young people joining the employment market. About a quarter of the working age population is unemployed.

Election in numbers

  • 73 million have voters’ cards
  • 51% of the electorate under the age of 35
  • 73 registered presidential candidates
  • 120,000 polling stations
Presentational grey line

What is the opposition saying?

Earlier on Tuesday, PDP chair Uche Secondus called the count “incorrect and unacceptable”. The party said counting should be stopped, alleging data from voter card readers had been manipulated.

The federal government accused the PDP of trying to “scuttle the polls” and prompt a constitutional crisis.

former Vice President Atiku Abubakar
Atiku Abubakar’s People’s Democratic Party has rejected the result

Some 130 people have been taken into custody suspected of electoral offences, reports say.

The initial vote was postponed early on 16 February, five hours before polls were due to open. Voters were also choosing members of the House of Representatives and Senate.

President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar

2019 presidential election: How Buhari, Atiku stand in 36 states, FCT according to INEC’s official results (with infographics)

President Muhammadu Buhari is set to be re-elected to lead Africa’s most populous country for an additional four years.

At the end of collation on Tuesday night, February 26, President Buhari crossed the 15 million mark in votes scored in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

He polled 15,191,847 votes, winning in 19 out of the 36 states.

His main challenger Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party scored 11, 255,978 votes and won 17 states and Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Buhari also satisfied the constitutional requirement of making 25% in 34 states and the FCT.

He missed the cut in Enugu and Anambra.

According to the electoral commission, 29,364,209 votes were cast out of which 27,324,583 were valid while 1,289,607 votes were rejected.

In Summary, this is how Nigerians voted:

Meanwhile, Observer group, YIAGA Africa, had earlier projected that there would be no run-off when the final results of the presidential election is announced.

President Muhammadu Buhari is set to be re-elected to lead Africa’s most populous country for an additional four years.

At the end of collation on Tuesday night, February 26, President Buhari crossed the 15 million mark in votes scored in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

He polled 15,191,847 votes, winning in 19 out of the 36 states.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Buhari also satisfied the constitutional requirement of making 25% in 34 states and the FCT.

He missed the cut in Enugu and Anambra.

According to the electoral commission, 29,364,209 votes were cast out of which 27,324,583 were valid while 1,289,607 votes were rejected.

In Summary, this is how Nigerians voted:

The group made the projection during a press briefing on Monday, February 25 addressed by the chairman of its Watching The Vote Working Group, Dr. Hussaini Abdu.

Dr Abdu said its projection is based on what the group received and processed its data from the sampled polling units.

His words: “YIAGA Africa’s preliminary estimates indicate that turnout for the February 23 presidential elections will be between 36% and 40% based on official turnout figures collected from the PVT’s representative statistical sample of polling units across the 774 LGAs in the country.

“If INEC’s official turnout falls within WTV’s estimated range then it accurately reflects the ballots cast at polling units.

“Although YIAGA Africa currently has a stable estimated range for the election outcome, it is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that has the mandate to announce results.

“However, based on currently received observer reports, there will be no run-off for the presidential elections because a clear winner will emerge. YIAGA AFRICA’s PVT shows that no candidate will receive more than 55% of the vote share.”

Uche Secondus, chair of the opposition PDP, said the government had rigged the results

Nigeria election 2019: Muhammadu Buhari takes early lead.

President Muhammadu Buhari has taken an early lead as votes are being counted in Nigeria’s general election, amid allegations of manipulation.

Mr Buhari has won seven of Nigeria’s 36 states, while his rival Atiku Abubakar took two states and the capital Abuja.

As results came in, Mr Abubakar’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) alleged that there had been irregularities in the vote.

Party chair Uche Secondus called the count “incorrect and unacceptable”.

He said there had been an “attempt by the government and other agencies to manipulate the result”, but did not give any evidence.

The EU, US and African Union have all expressed concern about delays and logistical problems with voting on Saturday, but no independent observers have suggested fraud.

Mr Buhari, a member of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) party, is seeking re-election but faces a strong challenge from Mr Abubakar.

Each party says the other is working with the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) to influence the vote, which was initially scheduled for 16 February but delayed at the last minute.

Mr Buhari has promised to build on his accomplishments in office so far, while Mr Abubakar, a business tycoon, has accused the president of wasting his term.

Whoever wins in Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy faces a range of problems including power shortages, corruption, security threats, and an economic slowdown.

What are the allegations?

Final results are not expected until later in the week. But Mr Secondus has criticised the initial tallies, saying the government was using “impeachments, manipulation, incarceration” to influence the outcome.

Two men listen to the radio as Nigerians await the results of the Presidential election, in Kano, Nigeria February 24, 2019.
Nigerians are anxious to find out the winner of the election

In turn, the federal government accused the PDP of trying to “scuttle the polls” and prompt a constitutional crisis.

The initial vote was postponed early on Saturday 16 February, five hours before polls were due to open. Voters were also choosing members of the House of Representatives and Senate.

Most of the country was calm but there were reports of attacks by the Boko Haram Islamist militant group in the north, and voter intimidation and attempts to steal ballot boxes, especially in the southern states of Rivers, Lagos, and Anambra.

A coalition of civil society groups reported that a total of 16 people were killed around the country – fewer than in previous elections.

Destroyed ballot boxes in the Isolo district of the commercial capital, Lagos.
Ballot boxes were destroyed in the Isolo district of Lagos

Two people were arrested in Lagos after a group of armed young men attacked voters, eyewitness Ralph Onodike told the BBC.

“What they were saying was that if you were not [voting for the ruling party] APC, you’ll be attacked,” he said.

How does the election work?

The candidate with the most votes is declared the winner in the first round, provided that person gains at least 25% of the votes in two-thirds of Nigeria’s states. There are 73 registered candidates, but Mr Buhari and Mr Abubakar have dominated the presidential election.

Both are from the mainly Muslim north of the country and both are in their 70s, while more than half of Nigeria’s 84 million registered voters are under 35.

MUHAMMADU BUHARI (APC) Embattled and determined leader

Born in 1942 to a Muslim family in northern Katsina state
Former soldier, led military regime in 1980s, remembered for strictness
Tardy civil servants had to perform frog jumps in public
Won 2015 presidential election, the first opposition candidate to defeat an incumbent, with promise to beat corruption and Boko Haram insurgents
Told wife she belonged in kitchen after she complained in a BBC interview about his government
After long absence from illness, had to deny rumours that he had been replaced in public by a lookalike

ATIKU ABUBAKAR (PDP) Tycoon and veteran power-broker

Born in 1946 in northern state of Adamawa
Co-owner of multinational oil services company that started life in a Lagos shipping container
Oversaw privatisations during two terms as vice-president.
Fought against corruption charges, describing them as politically motivated
Founded American University which gave scholarships to some of the “Chibok girls” that survived Boko Haram kidnapping
His father, a devout Muslim, was briefly jailed for trying to stop him from attending a Western-style school

What are the main issues?

Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer but corruption and a failure to invest the proceeds from the industry have hampered development.

A slow recovery from a recession in 2016 means there are not enough jobs for the large number of young people joining the employment market. About a quarter of the working age population is unemployed.

Presentational grey line

Election in numbers

  • 73 million have voters’ cards
  • 51% of the electorate under the age of 35
  • 73 registered presidential candidates
  • 120,000 polling stations
Presentational grey line

Mr Buhari has quelled a militant Islamist rebellion in Nigeria’s north-east, but Boko Haram remains active. There has also been an upsurge in violence in the country’s Middle Belt as traditional herders and more settled farmers have clashed.

Until 1999 Nigeria was governed by either short-lived civilian administrations or military rulers. But this year marks 20 years since the return of democracy.

Mr Buhari was elected in 2015 – the first time an opposition candidate had defeated an incumbent to become president.

PDP’s call on INEC to declare Atiku winner, reckless, provocative – APC

By Omeiza Ajayi

ABUJA – The All Progressives Congress APC has described as provocative and reckless, calls by the Peoples Democratic Party PDP on the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC to declare its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar winner of Saturday’s Presidential election. The APC in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu on Sunday in Abuja said;

“The press statement dated February 24, 2019 by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is an unwarranted strike against democracy and the people of Nigeria.

“The PDP in that press statement, recklessly calls on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to arbitrarily name its candidate, Alh. Atiku Abubakar the winner of the presidential election.

“This call is shameful and alarming. Unwilling to wait for INEC the constituted legal authority to complete its task, the PDP seeks a short cut by false and premature claims of victory. This cannot stand.

“Our nation is trying to perfect its democracy, not turn it into a mockery. Sadly, this objective is lost to the PDP. The PDP’s guiding principle is distilled to the following; because they want something, then they should get it. What they use to guide themselves actually blinds them instead.

President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar
President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar

Because they want the presidency so badly that they have engaged in all manner of misconduct and spared little cost to achieve their aim, they now believe that they are entitled to claim victory notwithstanding the vote and will of the people. But this is not the way of democracy. Democracy means the people choose for themselves not that the PDP chooses for them.

That may have been the way in the past when they engineered and kidnapped elections to achieve their desired end notwithstanding the true will of the people. Thankfully, those days are gone and gone forever.

These elections are supposed to be democratic exercises not a platform for the PDP to impose their selfish designs on a hopeful nation. The PDP should honour and follow the sovereign will and sober dignity of the Nigerian people.

The people patiently waited the additional week for Election Day to come. The vast majority of people again exercised patience as they peacefully voted on Election Day. Unfortunately, isolated incidents of violence took place. We are deeply saddened by the violence and disruption that did occur. Nigerians died yesterday and that should never have happened and should never happen again during an election of any kind in our land. Their deaths are needless tragedies that mar what was otherwise a celebration of our maturing democracy.

Instead of the discordant and provocative statement it released, the PDP should be appealing for peace and for INEC to diligently and thoroughly perform the vital task assigned it. Curiously, the majority of violent incidents and reports of electoral malpractice emanate from states which the PDP controls. It appears the PDP just cannot break from their old ways.

The PDP press statement is but a continuation of the sordid games that party has mastered. While all evidence points to the misconduct of their people, they make outlandish and false claims against the APC. This is but the typical modus operandi of a master swindler. They seek to distract the public eye from their own wrongs, by falsely accusing the APC of the very things they had conspired to set in motion months before this election even took place. From trying to falsify results on the ground to attempts at hacking the INEC software, they are willing to say and do anything to obtain victory, no matter how tainted by the wrongs they commit.

For our part, the APC has governed and campaigned as we believed was right. Because of this, we are content to await the verdict of the people. We also believe that only INEC has the authority to announce election results. What the PDP is trying to do, by claiming without any factual basis that Atiku has won, is usurp INEC’s constitutional authority. Moreover, PDP’s words are rash eruptions that may incite needless violence and unrest.

Thus, we ask the PDP to live up to the status it claims for itself as a large political party. The PDP should behave more responsibly instead of acting the role of spoiled children who threaten to upset the dinner table if not fed their preferred meal.

The APC asks and encourages INEC to do its job as mandated by law and by good conscience and not by the screams of those who do not fully believe in these ideals. We hope INEC can begin to release results soon and do so in a way that protects and honours the vote of every Nigerian who cast a ballot.

We also ask our members and supporters to exercise patience and conduct themselves peacefully. Democracy is a contest of issues and visions. Not one of muscle and fighting. Let there be no more violence among us. Remember that we are all Nigerians and belong to the same national family despite our political differences.

On this day, may democracy and sovereign will of the electorate reign. There is no worthy substitute for this despite the malign protestations of the PDP.

If Nigeria is to stand for something, let it be democracy and let it be today so that we assure for ourselves fruits of a brighter future.”, the ruling party added.

Atiku leads in Oyo, wins 9 of 10 declared LGAs

Atiku leads in Oyo, wins 9 of 10 declared LGAs

Idowu bankole 

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, is currently leading in the Saturday’s presidential election in Oyo state.

Atiku

The election took place in all the 33 local government areas in the state.

Alhaji Abubakar, in the results of the 10 local government areas so far announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, is currently winning in nine.

The results show that Alhaji Abubakar got a total of 85, 109 votes while President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC scored a total of 79,802 votes.

The results depict that Mr Abubakar won in Afijio, Saki East, Kajola, Ibarapa North, Ibarapa East, Itesiwaju, Iwajowa, Ibadan North West and Olorunsogo.

Mr Buhari has won in only one local government area which is Irepo.

The results of the 10 local government areas is presented below:

Afijio:

ADC 1, 022, ADP 306 APC 6,874 PDP 8,325

Saki East:

ADC 643, ADP 285, APC 5,730 PDP 5,883

Kajola:

ADC 455 ADP 54 APC 11,665 PDP 12,282

Ibarapa North:

ADC 1,671 ADP 224 APC 6,587 PDP 9,070

Ibarapa East:

ADC 1,614 ADP 52 APC 7,964 PDP 10, 346

Itesiwaju:

ADC 480 ADP 110 APC 6,193 PDP 7,010

Iwajowa:

ADC 1,768 ADP 106 APC 6,528

Ibadan North West:

ADC 1,264 ADP 160 APC 11, 126 PDP 14,550

Irepo:

ADC 293 ADP 505 APC 11,688 PDP 4,244

Olorunsogo:

ADC 226 ADP 354 APC 5,447 PDP 5922

NOTE: The results of 23 local government areas have not been announced yet.

Nigerians are anxious to find out the name of their new president

Nigerians are anxious to find out the name of their new president

Ballots are being counted in Nigeria’s closely fought general election, although voting has been extended to a second day in a handful of places.

Due to logistical problems and some cases of violence, polls have been put back to a later date in a few areas.

President Muhammadu Buhari, 76, is seeking a second term. His main challenger is former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, 72.

The election had been due last week but was delayed at the last minute.

Whoever wins in Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy will have to address power shortages, corruption, security threats, and an economic slowdown.

President Buhari cast his ballot in his hometown of Daura in the northern state of Katsina. Asked if he would congratulate his rival if he lost, he said: “I will congratulate myself.”

Mr Abubakar, a business tycoon, also said he was confident of victory.

The main results centre is expected to open at 18:00 local time (17:00 GMT) in the capital, Abuja, but final results are not expected until Monday at the earliest.

Was the election peaceful?

Most of the country was calm but there were reports of attacks by the Boko Haram Islamist militant group in the north, and voter intimidation and attempts to steal ballot boxes from some polling stations, especially in the southern states of Rivers, Lagos and Anambra.

A coalition of civil society groups reports that a total of 16 people were killed around the country – this is less than in previous elections.

Two people were arrested in the Surulere district of the commercial capital, Lagos, after voters were attacked by a group of young men “brandishing weapons: cutlasses, axes and stakes”, one witness told the BBC.

“What they were saying was that if you were not [voting for the ruling party] APC, you’ll be attacked,” Ralph Onodike, who sustained an arm injury, told the BBC.

Destroyed ballot boxes in the Isolo district of the commercial capital, Lagos.
These ballot boxes were destroyed in the Isolo district of Lagos

The Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) said that voting had not been possible in about 8,500 of the 120,000 polling stations around the country, reports the AFP news agency.

But Inec official Festus Okoye said the commission was “generally satisfied with the process and the procedures for the conduct of these present elections”. He said 68% of polling units had opened by 10:00, according to Reuters news agency.

The initial vote was rescheduled in a dramatic press conference in the early hours of Saturday 16 February, just five hours before polls were due to have opened.

Voters were also choosing members of the House of Representatives and Senate.

How does the election work?

The candidate with the most votes is declared the winner in the first round, as long as that person gains at least 25% of the votes in two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states.

There are 73 registered candidates in the presidential election, but campaigning has been dominated by the two political giants and the established party machines behind them.

Ballot paper for Nigerian presidential election 2019
Theballot paper has to be extra long in order to fit on all 73 presidential candidates

The president’s All Progressives Congress (APC) has promised to take the country to the “next level”, arguing that in his first four-year term Mr Buhari has done a lot of “foundational work” that may not be immediately obvious.

Mr Abubakar and his People’s Democratic Party have pledged “to get Nigeria working again”, saying that the president has wasted the last four years.

Both men are from the mainly Muslim north of the country. While they are in their 70s, more than half of Nigeria’s 84 million registered voters are under 35.


MUHAMMADU BUHARI (APC) Embattled and determined leader
  • Born in 1942 to a Muslim family in northern Katsina state
  • Former soldier, led military regime in 1980s, remembered for strictness
  • Tardy civil servants had to perform frog jumps in public
  • Won 2015 presidential election, the first opposition candidate to defeat an incumbent, with promise to beat corruption and Boko Haram insurgents
  • Told wife she belonged in kitchen after she complained in a BBC interview about his government
  • After long absence from illness, had to deny rumours that he had been replaced in public by a lookalike
  • Read full profile
ATIKU ABUBAKAR (PDP) Tycoon and veteran power-broker

  • Born in 1946 in northern state of Adamawa
  • Co-owner of multinational oil services company that started life in a Lagos shipping container
  • Oversaw privatisations during two terms as vice-president.
  • Fought against corruption charges, describing them as politically motivated
  • Founded American University which gave scholarships to some of the “Chibok girls” that survived Boko Haram kidnapping
  • His father, a devout Muslim, was briefly jailed for trying to stop him from attending a Western-style school
  • Read full profile

What are the main issues?

Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer but corruption and a failure to invest the proceeds from the industry have hampered development in the country.

It slipped into a recession in 2016 and a slow recovery has meant that not enough jobs have been created to cope with the large number of young people coming into the employment market. Currently nearly a quarter of the working age population is unemployed.

Presentational grey line

Election in numbers

  • 73 million have voters’ cards
  • 51% of the electorate under the age of 35
  • 73 registered presidential candidates
  • 120,000 polling stations
Presentational grey line

Mr Buhari has quelled a militant Islamist rebellion in the north-east of the country, but Boko Haram remains active. There has also been an upsurge in violence in the country’s Middle Belt as traditional herders and more settled farmers have clashed.

Until 1999 Nigeria was governed by either short-lived civilian administrations or military rulers. But this year marks 20 years since the return of democracy.

Mr Buhari was elected in 2015 – the first time an opposition candidate had defeated an incumbent to become president.


 

Buhari, Atiku share 2 LGAs in Benue

Makurdi – President Muhammadu Buhari, the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has scored 12,197 votes in Tarka Local Government Area to floor Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who had 4,875 votes.

Buhari and Atiku

Announcing the results on Sunday in Makurdi, the INEC Collation Officer for the election in Tarka local government area, Prof. Simon Ejembi, said the local government area had 10 registration areas with 50,180 total number of registered voters.

According to him, the total accredited voters were 18,749 while total number of valid votes were 17,424.

He said the total number of rejected votes stood at 1,089 and the total number of votes cast were 18,513.

Also announcing the result of the presidential poll for Ado Local Government Area, the collation officer, Prof Idugba Echi, said PDP polled 8,614 to defeat president Buhari of the APC.

He said APC polled 5,373, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) polled 689.

The collation officer said the local government council , which has 10 registration areas, had a total of 73,129 registered voters with 16,747 accredited voters, while 1,093 votes were rejected.

He explained that the total number of votes cast were 16,413.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the results of the presidential polls in 21 other local government councils were been awaited.

NAN also reports that of the 13 National Assembly seats in the state, non was declared by the electoral umpire.


Nigeria decides 2019: Atiku speaks on election results, winning presidential poll

Nigeria decides 2019: Atiku speaks on election results, winning presidential poll”:

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Sunday expressed optimism of winning the presidential election.

The presidential election, which was conducted on Saturday is still being collated by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Abubakar is the closest rival to President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the race for the presidential seat.

In a statement by his campaign spokesperson, Phrank Shaibu, Abubakar urged Nigerians on the need to maximise their eternal vigilance in the next 48 hours to prevent the majority votes recorded at the polling units being disrupted by force by the APC at the collation centres.

The statement reads: “I would like to sincerely thank the millions of people who, despite having to bear the additional burden of a postponed election, came out yesterday to vote for me and the other PDP candidates standing in this election.

“With strong shares of vote in SS, SE as well as an increased share in SW and NC we are very pleased with the progress the PDP has made. We look forward to sharing some exciting news in other parts of the country very soon, which will confound all the armchair pundits.

 

 

 

Abubakar is the closest rival to President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the race for the presidential seat.

In a statement by his campaign spokesperson, Phrank Shaibu, Abubakar urged Nigerians on the need to maximise their eternal vigilance in the next 48 hours to prevent the majority votes recorded at the polling units being disrupted by force by the APC at the collation centres.

The statement reads: “I would like to sincerely thank the millions of people who, despite having to bear the additional burden of a postponed election, came out yesterday to vote for me and the other PDP candidates standing in this election.

“With strong shares of vote in SS, SE as well as an increased share in SW and NC we are very pleased with the progress the PDP has made. We look forward to sharing some exciting news in other parts of the country very soon, which will confound all the armchair pundits.

The people of Nigeria can take solace that very soon the living Nightmare of the last four years will come to an end so that together we will get Nigeria working again.

“I am familiar with how brazen and the complete lack of shame the APC can exhibit, but even I was shocked to witness just how low they went last night by accusing the PDP of ‘recruiting armed thugs’ to do just that. Why would we want to do that when we are winning?”

“Furthermore I would like to say how proud I was of PDP supporters who conducted themselves so peacefully despite the significant provocations and threats of violence, removal and burning of ballot boxes and the likes.”

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari casts his vote at a polling station in Daura, Katsina State

Nigeria election 2019: Atiku Abubakar challenges Muhammadu Buhari’

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari casts his vote at a polling station in Daura, Katsina State

Nigerians are finally going to the polls for the country’s general election following a last-minute postponement of the vote a week ago.

The main challenger to President Muhammadu Buhari, 76, is the former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, 72.

Whoever wins will have to address power shortages, corruption, security threats, and a sluggish economy.

Voting began at 08:00 (07:00 GMT) and polls are due to close at 14:00 (13:00).

President Buhari cast his ballot in his hometown of Daura in the northern state of Katsina. Asked if he would congratulate his rival if he lost, he said: “I will congratulate myself.”

Reported attacks

About two hours before polls were due to open on Saturday, residents of the town of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state in the country’s north-east reported hearing several blasts and gunfire.

State police said in a statement that there was no threat to public safety. “The gunfire were not targeted at members of the public but was for security purposes,” the statement said.

Borno is the birthplace of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which had said it planned to disrupt the elections.

In the north-eastern state of Yobe, suspected Islamist militants attacked the town of Geidam, forcing people to flee, the Reuters news agency reported.

Why was the election delayed?

The initial vote was rescheduled in a dramatic press conference in the early hours of Saturday 16 February, just five hours before polls were due to have opened.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar
President Muhammadu Buhari (l) is expected to face a strong challenge from Atiku Abubakar (r)

The Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) has given several reasons for the delay, including attempted sabotage and logistical issues such as bad weather and problems with delivering the ballot papers.

Inec has said that everything is in place for the poll to take place this time round.

How will the election work?

The candidate with the most votes is declared the winner in the first round, as long as that person gains at least 25% of the votes in two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states.

There are 73 registered candidates in the presidential election, but campaigning has been dominated by the two political giants and the established party machines behind them.

Ballot paper for Nigerian presidential election 2019
The ballot paper has to be extra long in order to fit on all 73 presidential candidates

The president’s All Progressives Congress (APC) has promised to take the country to the “next level”, arguing that in his first four-year term Mr Buhari has done a lot of “foundational work” that may not be immediately obvious.

Mr Abubakar and his People’s Democratic Party have pledged “to get Nigeria working again”, saying that the president has wasted the last four years.

Both men are from the mainly Muslim north of the country. While they are in their 70s, more than half of Nigeria’s 84 million registered voters are under 35.

What are the main issues?

Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer but corruption and a failure to invest the proceeds from the industry have hampered development in the country.

It slipped into a recession in 2016 and a slow recovery has meant that not enough jobs have been created to cope with the large number of young people coming into the employment market. Currently nearly a quarter of the working age population is unemployed.

Presentational grey line

Election in numbers

  • 73 million have voter’s cards
  • 51% of the electorate under the age of 35
  • 73 registered presidential candidates
  • 120,000 polling stations

Mr Buhari has quelled a militant Islamist rebellion in the north-east of the country, but Boko Haram remains active. There has also been an upsurge in violence in the country’s Middle Belt as traditional herders and more settled farmers have clashed.

Up until 1999 Nigeria was governed by either short-lived civilian administrations or military rulers. But this year marks 20 years since the return of democracy.

Mr Buhari was elected in 2015 – the first time an opposition candidate had defeated an incumbent to become president.

MUHAMMADU BUHARI (APC)Embattled and determined leader

Born in 1942 to a Muslim family in northern Katsina state
Former soldier, led military regime in 1980s, remembered for strictness
Tardy civil servants had to perform frog jumps in public
Won 2015 presidential election, the first opposition candidate to defeat an incumbent, with promise to beat corruption and Boko Haram insurgents
Told wife she belonged in kitchen after she complained in a BBC interview about his government
After long absence from illness, had to deny rumours that he had been replaced in public by a lookalike
Read full profile

ATIKU ABUBAKAR (PDP)Tycoon and veteran power-broker

Born in 1946 in northern state of Adamawa
Co-owner of multinational oil services company that started life in a Lagos shipping container
Oversaw privatisations during two terms as vice-president.
Fought against corruption charges, describing them as politically motivated
Founded American University which gave scholarships to some of the “Chibok girls” that survived Boko Haram kidnapping
His father, a devout Muslim, was briefly jailed for trying to stop him from attending a Western-style school.
Read full profile
Nigeria elections 2019: Is the country prepared?

Mahmood Yakubu, who chairs the Independent National Electoral Commission, which postponed Saturday’s elections

Last Saturday, 16 February, elections in Nigeria were halted just hours before polling had been due to get under way.

It was a huge inconvenience for millions of Nigerians, many of whom had travelled long distances to vote.

The poll will now be held a week later, on Saturday, 23 February.

With the extra time to prepare, are things now in place for the vote?

Why was the poll postponed?

Both the main parties, the governing All Peoples Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), condemned the delay and blamed each other for meddling in the elections.

This isn’t the first time voters in Nigeria have been left in the lurch. It happened in the two previous presidential elections, in 2011 and 2015, and has led many to question the competence of the organising body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec).

This time the commission cited various reasons for the delay:

  • delays in delivering election materials and deploying staff
  • poor weather conditions
  • unresolved candidate registration issues
  • the destruction of election materials and suspected sabotage
A Nigerian supporting Atiku, the main opposition candidate for Nigeria's electionsETTY IMAGES
Concerns have been raised the election delay will cause low turnout

Some of the issues cited are not within the powers of the electoral commission to control, such as the unpredictable nature of Nigeria’s weather.

But there are clearly other logistical factors that do need to be addressed if the election is to proceed smoothly.

Voter registration problems

Each of the 84 million registered voters in Nigeria is required to bring a Permanent Voting Card (PVC), which is then verified at the polling station using a smart card reader.

However, many potential voters haven’t got PVCs – and the electoral commission itself says 11 million of the cards printed haven’t been collected.

That’s a big shortfall and won’t be rectified by polling day – meaning millions of registered voters won’t be able to cast ballots.

Reprogramming card readers

Then there are the machines used to verify voters – 180,000 smart card readers have been deployed to polling stations across the country.

All these machines were initially programmed to work on the originally planned voting day only, so they have all needed to be reprogrammed.

Inec says this process has been completed and the machines are ready for use.

It also says it has made up for 4,600 smart card readers destroyed in a fire in Anambra State, by redistributing devices from other states – although that may leave fewer back-up machines for polling stations in other regions.

Smart Card Readers used to verify voters' identityGETTY IMAGES
Smart card readers used to verify voters’ identity

Keeping voting materials safe

Organising elections in Nigeria is a huge logistical challenge.

It’s a large country, with an estimated 200 million people, and many regions lack proper roads and infrastructure.

The electoral commission says ballot papers and election staff will be in place across the country.

Sensitive election materials such as ballot papers and result sheets are being held in local central banks, Inec has told BBC News.

However, reports from local media have highlighted further logistical mishaps and the destruction of election materials and resources.

Some election material has even been found in the wrong states.

_105735110_gettyimages-1125554581.jpgInec staff begin reconfiguring smart card readers set to work on the previous election day

Security challenges

Election officials are working with security forces to prevent disruption to the election.

Inec maintains voting will take place in all 774 local government areas.

And international election observers say it has been moving in the right direction..

“I think Inec have definitely picked up their game,” says John Tomaszewski, the International Republican Institute’s regional director for Africa.

But some concerns around security remain, especially over:

  • Islamist insurgency in the North East
  • herder-farmer clashes in the Middle Belt
  • various threats from bandits and criminal gangs in northern regions and oil-producing states in the South

In Borno State, in north-eastern Nigeria, the state most affected by Boko Haram Islamist militants, eight local government areas have prepared satellite polling stations in camps for internally displaced people.

Map of kidnappings in Nigeria since 2015

But last week, in the run-up to the originally planned election day, Boko Haram coordinated a series of attacks and suicide bombings on military bases and a neighbourhood in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri.

And Idayat Hassan, from Abuja-based think tank the Centre for Democracy and Development, says: “The likelihood of Boko Haram attacking during the elections is high – the insurgents have consistently express aversion towards democracy and elections.”

Meanwhile, in other states, such as Zamfara, in northern-most Nigeria, kidnappings, killings and general lawlessness are also raising voters’ fears.

This is one of the overcrowded camps people had fled to

Nigerian elections: Voters taken through Boko Haram danger zone

This is one of the overcrowded camps people had fled to

Displaced people in north-east Nigeria have told the BBC they were transported through a dangerous conflict zone ahead of the country’s elections in an operation agreed by the main political parties.

The BBC has been told that the unescorted convoys were organised with the agreement of both the ruling and main opposition parties, and the electoral commission.

Several thousand displaced people are believed to have been moved back to their home areas temporarily in order to vote.

Nigerians had been due to vote on 16 February but the polls were postponed until this Saturday.

Several witnesses described how displaced people had been organised into what they said was an unescorted convoy to make the journey from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, to the town of Monguno – a journey of 140km (87 miles) through territory which is known for attacks by Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa (Iswap).

Over the years, violence across the state has driven thousands to seek shelter in Maiduguri. But this, say senior officials from both the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) and the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) creates logistical difficulties for those organising these elections because they would have to provide separate voting centres for each displaced group.

A women in a camp for internally displaced persons in NigeriaETTY IMAGES
early two million people have been forced from their homes by the fighting

Officials decided that the larger groups could go back home to vote, if their towns were deemed safe.

Many of the displaced were originally from Monguno and had been uprooted in earlier attacks.

The BBC spoke to two men who said they were part of a convoy of buses and lorries which travelled from Maiduguri to Borno in the days before the election was originally due to take place.

At their request we have protected the men’s identities.

‘Dangerous road’

“Mamdu”, a farmer and father of eight children, said that there were 10 buses and three lorries. He estimated that each bus carried between 90 and 96 people.

We asked if they were afraid and whether Boko Haram operated on that road.

“Yes there is,” he replied. “The road is very dangerous and it is only God that protects.”

We asked him why he had made the journey.

He said he had been offered 20,000 naira (almost $55; £42) by representatives of the ruling APC to vote for the party in Monguno. He said he was first given 2,000 naira as an allowance, with more to come after the voting.

“It’s because of the poverty we are facing,” he replied, “and they promised to give us 20,000 each – that’s why we decided to go with them”.

Map

“Ibrahim” said he was afraid on the journey and that people had been complaining that day because there was no water and there was no escort.

He too said he had gone because “I have family, thinking that the money I will get will help and solve some of my problems”.

He said there was no arrangement about returning.

A vehicle was sent and the displaced “fought and rushed before we got in the car – and some of them are still in Monguno”.

Isa Gusau, a spokesman for the state governor, rejected allegations of cash inducements, saying there was no need to offer money as the opposition had “near zero” chance of winning in the area.

Paying for votes ‘routine’

The ruling party is by no means alone in facing allegations of using cash to induce people to vote for its candidates.

Allegations of vote buying by the main parties are routine in elections in Nigeria, where power depends on wide networks of influence.

The opposition PDP has also been accused of spending large amounts of money to buy votes.

A reliable source in the town of Gwoza, about 130km south-east of Maiduguri, told the BBC that both main parties had offered money to displaced people in order to secure their votes.

According to the BBC’s sources, the displaced were taken to two schools in Monguno – the Central Primary School and UBE Primary School – and an open area in the community.

Senior sources in several international organisations have confirmed that their staff on the ground had received similar reports from internally displaced people (IDPs).

According to these sources several thousand people may have been moved between different locations in order to vote.

Monguno campRC
Moving people to vote has increased overcrowding in this camp in Monguno, a relief worker told the BBC

One relief worker told the BBC that Monguno was already overcrowded with displaced people.

More than 8,000 IDPs were affected when a fire broke out in one crammed camp in the town on 8 February.

“In addition to the security implications of this arrangement, with convoys being vulnerable to attacks, it is increasing the pressure and overcrowding in Monguno – now for an extended period – where thousands of IDPs are already existing in unacceptable conditions.

“After the elections, we are concerned that these people will just be abandoned where they are,” the source said.

‘Attempt to win voters’

Responding to questions from the BBC, the state governor’s spokesman, Mr Gusau, confirmed that displaced people had been moved between Maiduguri and Monguno and vice versa.

He said that this had been agreed with the Independent Nigerian Election Commission (Inec) and all political parties.

“Rather than Monguno have two voting centres, one in Maiduguri and another in Monguno where majority of voters are, it was best to transport Monguno voters to Monguno to join the majority and vote there… all in an effort to make the election smooth.”

Mr Gusau said life had returned to Monguno and it was now “accessible to everyone”.

The PDP’s candidate for the seat of governor also defended the move.

“Most of the people who are registered to vote in Monguno are already there, whether as residents or as IDPs from neighbouring areas,” said Mohammed Imam.

“So bringing the other 10 or so percent in will simplify the voting process.”

There was, he said, no official plan on how to move those travelling to vote, which provided the opportunity for politicians to step in and provide transport in an added attempt to win over potential voters.

‘Astonishment’

A group of candidates from smaller parties in Maiduguri has claimed that the movement was “a ploy to deny other candidates the opportunity to campaign to the IDPs”.

The group of six parties said “people were brought to Maiduguri because of the security situation in their respective local governments.

“But to our astonishment, they were moved to other locations outside the state capital.”

omen sift through the remains of a market blown up during an attack on September 20, 2018, in Amarwa, some 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Borno state capital Maiduguri.FP
Boko Haram factions continue to carry out attacks – this market was blown up in September

They pointed to recent violence, including an ambush on the convoy of the state governor, Kashim Shettima, on Tuesday 12 February – four days before the election was due to be held.

Three people were killed, according to the government, although some officials speaking anonymously say there were dozens of deaths.

On 16 February a suicide bomber and gunmen attacked a mosque in Maiduguri killing 11 people. Two days later, 14 people were killed when a group of wood gatherers was ambushed about 10km from the city.

Boko Haram and Iswap attacks have spread in recent months in the north and east of Borno State, in spite of claims from the Nigerian military that only small pockets of the jihadists remain.

The country director of Amnesty International, Osai Ojigho, has called for an investigation and said she is concerned that IDPs had been put risk.

She said the displaced were people who had already been traumatised by the Boko Haram insurgency.

A boy sells balloons in the centre of Libya's capital, Tripoli, on Saturday on the eve of celebrations to mark the eighth anniversary of the Libyan uprising.

Africa’s week in pictures: 15-21 February 2019:

A selection of photos from across Africa and of Africans elsewhere this week:

A boy sells balloons in the centre of Libya’s capital, Tripoli, on Saturday on the eve of celebrations to mark the eighth anniversary of the Libyan uprising.

A tall tower block stands next to a domed mosque in a built-up part of the city of Cairo. The sky is a dark blue and the tower's windows are illuminated by the sun in a bright orange. Egypt - Wednesday 20 February 2019
In neighbouring Egypt on Wednesday, the windows on this tower block catch the fading sunlight in the capital, Cairo.
Two pink candles, one green and one yellow are seen close up, held in the hands of two different people who are both wearing red tops in Nairobi, Kenya - Sunday 17 February 2019
On Sunday, members of the LGBT-friendly Cosmopolitan Affirming Church in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, hold candles.
A man is seen inside a wooden structure that has signs saying "blanchisserie", the French word for laundry, daubed in paint on the outside in Abidjan, Ivory Coast - Tuesday 19 February 2019
A man irons clothes on Tuesday at a laundry in the suburbs of Ivory Coast’s economic capital, Abidjan.
A crowned sifaka is seen inside a zoo cuddling a teddy bear which resembles the mammal in Besancon, France - Monday 18 February 2019
One of Madagascar’s critically endangered lemurs, a crowned sifaka, is seen in a zoo in eastern France on Monday, cuddling up to a teddy bear.
A young boy looks on during a special Jumu'ah prayer service at the Central Mosque in Lagos, Nigeria. He is wearing a hat and his eyes are lined in kohl - Friday 15 February 2019
This boy joins prayers for a peaceful election at the Central Mosque in the Nigerian city of Lagos on Friday. Voting was postponed just five hours before polls were due to open on Saturday…
Palace guards dressed in red and green, including large red turbans, stand as candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) arrives to pray at Central Mosque, in his native town of Daura in Katsina State, Nigeria - Friday 15 February 2019
Also on Friday, these men stand guard at a mosque in the northern Nigerian town of Daura for the visit of a campaigning politician…
A drummer dressed in a white suit performs during service at St Mary's Catholic church in Port Harcourt, Nigeria - Sunday 17 February 2019
A drummer performs during mass at St Mary’s Catholic Church Nigeria’s southern city of Port Harcourt on Sunday…
Cattle herders direct cows to the yards at a livestock market in Ngurore, Adamawa State, Nigeria. They are encircling the animal, the sun is low in the sky - Wednesday 20 February 2019
Cattle herders in Nigeria’s north-eastern Adawama state are seen at work on Wednesday at a livestock market…
A woman smiles as she holds a bottle of water branded with the faces of President Muhammadu Buhari and the vice-president in Abuja, Nigeria - Wednesday 20 February 2019
Here an APC supporter holds a bottle branded with the faces of President Muhammadu Buhari and his deputy in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja…
Rickshaws emblazoned with campaign posters bearing images of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party election candidate Atiku Abubakar and his running mate Peter Obi stand on a road in Abuja, Nigeria - Monday 19 February 2019
In the city on Monday, campaign posters for PDP candidate Atiku Abubakar and his running mate adorn rickshaws taxis. The delayed polls are now due to take place on Saturday.
Three powered paragliders take part in the air games festival in front of the Giza pyramid complex, in Giza, Egypt - Monday 19 February 2019
Paragliders sail over the pyramids in Giza on the second and final day of the Egypt Air Games on Tuesday.
A woman walks past a shop front in Harare, Zimbabwe. It has a sign above the windows and doors bearing the EcoCash logo, to tell passersby that it accepts that form of payment. Tuesday 20 February 2019
The next day, a woman walks past a shop in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, that accepts EcoCash, a mobile money system used because of a chronic cash shortage.
Inmates at Kodiaga Womens Prison celebrate with the newly selected Miss Kodiaga Womens Prison 2019, who is wearing a bright pink dress with glitter on one side, as well as a tiara, in Kisumu, Kenya - Saturday 17 February 2019
And inmates in celebrate on Sunday with the newly crowned Miss Kodiaga Women’s Prison in western Kenya – an annual event organised by an NGO.

Images courtesy of AFP, EPA and Reuters

"Ad hoc observers", like these in Adamawa, will have to be in place for the rescheduled election

Nigeria election 2019: Who benefits from poll delay?

“Ad hoc observers”, like these in Adamawa, will have to be in place for the rescheduled election

Nigeria is to hold a delayed presidential election this Saturday after the initial vote was rescheduled in a dramatic overnight press conference, five hours before polls were due to have opened.

The last-minute cancellation surprised the country and inconvenienced thousands of Nigerians who had travelled a long way to cast their votes. It has also cost the economy $1.5bn (£1.15bn), according to the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) has given several reasons for the delay, including attempted sabotage and logistical issues such as bad weather and problems with delivering the ballot papers.

Presentational grey line

Election in numbers

  • 84 million registered voters
  • 51% of the electorate under the age of 35
  • 73 registered presidential candidates
  • 120,000 polling stations
Presentational grey line

The governing All Progressives Congress (APC) and its main challenger, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), have both condemned the postponement and accused each other of trying to manipulate the vote.

So does the delay favour anyone?

In a statement issued on the day of the postponement, the APC alleged the PDP wanted to halt the momentum of its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari. The PDP, whose presidential contender is Atiku Abubakar, on the other hand said Inec had delayed the election to create “the space to perfect their rigging plans”.

According to Idayat Hassan, from Abuja-based think tank, the Centre for Democracy and Development, the week-long extension is too brief to have a significant influence on the result of the presidential vote.

President Muhammadu Buhari (l) is expected to face a strong challenge from Atiku Abubakar (r)

She compares the latest postponement to the one in 2015, when the PDP – in government at the time – pushed the election back by six weeks, blaming the Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east. That postponement, she says, ended up favouring the APC because it cast the PDP in a negative light – as a party that would pursue “power at all costs”.

She believes this year’s delay could slightly benefit the APC as it would increase voter apathy in most areas except those with historically high turnouts – “the north-west and the north-east… both strongholds of President Muhammadu Buhari”.

Nigerian men examine a newspaper after the postponement

The postponement took the Nigerian press and public by surprise

Other analysts say the postponement is likely to harm both parties equally, as their supporters who had travelled home to vote last week will be unable to make another journey this weekend.

Another view holds that the delay will harm Mr Buhari’s chances, as the electoral commission’s un-readiness reflects poorly on him. The commission’s chief, Mahmood Yakubu, was appointed by Mr Buhari in 2015.

Will the election definitely take place this Saturday?

Inec says there will be no further delays, but some observers have questioned whether the elections will go ahead on 23 February. Festus Mogae, a former president of Botswana, told the BBC’s Newsday programme that he was doubtful that all the preparations would be completed.

“It’s a great deal of work yet to be done,” the head of the international election observation mission said.

“I don’t know whether that can be managed or not, I am not in a position to judge but it makes me apprehensive.”

Supporters of President Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria

It is unclear if the delay will help or hinder Mr Buhari’s chances

And the former vice-president of The Gambia, Fatoumata Tambajang, said she too had doubts about whether Inec could meet its new deadline.

“One has to be realistic given the enormity of the activities that are supposed to be taken care of,” she said.

The PDP’s Atiku Abubakar has complained about the delayed vote – as has his rival

As well as overcoming logistical hurdles, she said popular enthusiasm for the electoral process would have to be restored to where it was until last week’s cancellation.

What does the election commission say?

For Inec, keeping to the new date is central to maintaining the public’s trust. Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the resident electoral commissioner for the capital, Abuja, told the BBC there would be “pandemonium” if election materials were not deployed in time.

“People will just think that Inec has hidden them deliberately, so we can dock some of the results,” he said.

Voters here discussed the election last week, but will they be as excited about the rescheduled vote?

The business community has also stressed the importance of avoiding further delays, with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry warning that economic activity would not pick up until the election had been held.

What happens next?

The first task is to reconfigure some 180,000 card readers that are being used to validate voters’ identity cards and check their biometric details. The dates on the readers need to be changed to the new election date.

In a statement, Inec said this process would take five to six days, and is due to be completed by Thursday 21 February.

Some sensitive election materials, including ballot papers, have been returned to the Central Bank of Nigeria for safekeeping. These are scheduled to be deployed around the country by Friday 22 February, at the latest.

Election staff, including an estimated one million so-called ad-hoc staff, will also be travelling then. It is unclear what happened to the staff and volunteers, including members of the country’s youth corps, that had already been deployed last Friday.

By law, all campaigning must end 24 hours before polling stations open. After initially saying that the ban imposed last week would remain in force, Inec went back on its decision on Monday, allowing political parties to resume campaigning this week.