The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has advised aggrieved political parties to seek legal redress if not satisfied with the electoral process, adding that calls for the resignation of INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, by the parties is out of place.
It would be recalled that the national collation agents for the Peoples Democratic Party, Dino Melaye and Emeka Ihedioha on Monday walked out of the International Conference Centre in Abuja over alleged rigging.
Agents of some other parties, including those of the Social Democratic Party, Labour Party and Action Democratic Party had pointed out same views.
They had accused INEC of violating the Electoral Act by going ahead with the result collation and announcement despite not uploading the results on the INEC Result Viewing portal.
Addressing the matter on Tuesday, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said that “results emanating from the states point to a free, fair and credible process.”
He however urged parties to allow the conclusion of the electoral process and if not satisfied, they could approach the court.
He noted, “The call by the Labour Party and the Peoples Democratic Democratic Party on the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to resign is misplaced. The allegation by Dino Melaye that the INEC chairman allocated scores to parties is unfounded and irresponsible.
“At the same time, contrary to the insinuation by both parties, results emanating from the states point to a free, fair and credible process.
“There are laid down procedures for aggrieved parties or candidates to follow when they are dissatisfied about the outcome of an election. Such procedures do not include calling on the INEC chairman to resign or for the election to be cancelled.
“To be sure, aggrieved parties are free to approach the courts to ventilate their concerns and wait for the matter to be resolved. Making inciting comments capable of causing violence or unrest is unacceptable.
“The 2023 general election processes are in their final stages of completion. It is only fair for aggrieved parties to allow the conclusion of the process and approach the courts with their evidences to pursue their cases.”
The APC presidential campaign council in a counter press conference on Tuesday, shortly after the opposition parties’ news briefing, said the presidential and National Assembly elections held on Saturday were credible enough.
Speaking, the spokesman for the APC campaign council, Festus Keyamo, said it was “legally wrong” to call for the altering of the electoral process when the results had not even not even been declared.
“They actually called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to intervene; to interfere with the process. First of all, those demands are not possible under the law,” Keyamo said.
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment added that the request by the opposition parties were against the provision of the Electoral Act, saying the results collated by the state returning officers could not be tampered with by the INEC chairman.
“When they (the results) come to the national collation centre, the national chairman has no power under the law to review what all those returning officers have done,” he said, adding that all complains should have been resolved at the ward, local government area and state levels.
Keyamo said only the election tribunal could interfere with the process.
The APC PCC thereby asked the aggrieved parties to approach the court if they had cases.