The media team of the Nigerian President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has clarified the misconceptions surrounding the 2023 Presidential election.
The team, led by its spokesperson and Minister of (State) Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN, made the clarification during a parley with the International Press in Washington DC on Wednesday.
During the parley, Keyamo explained how the outgoing President, Muhammadu Buhari, signed the ELECTORAL ACT, 2022, into law to create room for a seamless electoral process.
He noted that contrary to the false outcry by the opposition, the main technological device, Bi-modal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) did not fail on the election day.
“All the local and international observers scored the use of BVAS very high, with one local body called YIAGA, working in coalition with the EU and other International Observers, saying it recorded 88% success in all the polling units it monitored,” Keyamo said.
He went further to explain that “the portal the opposition made so much noise about, IREV, is just a viewing portal, which has nothing to do with accreditation or verification of voters or even the counting or recording of votes.”
Keyamo stated that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) explained that the delay in uploading the results to the viewing portal was as a result of a technical glitch. He then queried why none of the aggrieved parties produced their own copies of the result sheets obtained at various polling units that substantially contradicts the results released and announced by the Electoral Commission, since the results were eventually uploaded.
“Even in their Election Petitions presently before the Court, no such alternative figures have been provided,” he said.
Speaking on the credibility of the results, Keyamo said, “Our Constitution requires a Presidential candidate to secure the highest number of votes and score at at least one-quarter of the votes in two-thirds of the States of the Federation which includes the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“Only Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu met these requirements especially that of the spread (he scored 25 percent and above in 29 States), even though all 3 top candidates won 12 States each.
“The candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) scored 25% and above in just 21 States, falling short of the 24 States required and the candidate of the Labour Party scored 25% and above in 15 States plus the Federal Capital Territory, making it 16 States.”
“There was just no pathway to victory for these candidates who did not have the requisite national acceptability. So, how tenable is the claim of rigging the elections?,” he added.
Keyamo explained that the elections were so credible that it threw up some upsets.
He noted, “For the first time, 20 sitting Governors lost their States, mostly those of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and seven Governors who sought elections into the Senate failed to scale through. This has never happened in the history of Nigeria.
“The President-Elect lost his home State (Lagos State); the sitting President lost his home State (Katsina State); the Director-General of the Campaign lost his home State (Plateau State); the ruling Party Chairman lost his home State (Nassarawa State); the Chairman of the ruling Party’s Governor Forum lost his home State (Kebbi State) and the ruling party lost some of its traditional strong holds like Yobe State, Kaduna State and Kano State.
“All these go to show that it was a keenly contested election and one of the most credible in our history.”
On the violence and casualties recorded during the election, Keyamo said, “The reports of some irregularities and violence in some polling units could not have affected the overall outcome of the elections too.
“There are 176,974 polling units in Nigeria and infractions and violence were recorded in less than one percent of these units. How could these have affected the overall results of the elections?
“Whilst we look forward to an era when there would be no single casualty during elections in Nigeria, however, the statistics show that 2023 recorded the lowest casualty rates ever.
“During the 1964/65 elections about 200 deaths were recorded as a result of election violence; 1993 election recorded 100 deaths; 1999 election recorded 80 deaths; 2003 polls recorded 100 deaths and 2007 polls recorded 300 deaths. The 2011 polls recorded 800 deaths, the 2015 polls recorded 100 deaths and the 2019 polls recorded 150 deaths. However, the 2023 polls recorded no more than 28 deaths as a result of election violence. So, the claim that this is the “worst” election so far is totally unfounded.”
He urged aggrieved parties to have faith in the judicial system and desist from spreading false tales about Nigeria’s election across the world.