The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives party disagreed yesterday at the International Collation Centre (ICC), venue of the National Collation of the results of last Saturday’s President Election.
The bone of contention was a request by the opposition party that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must project what the Smart Card Readers (SCRs) captured as accreditation figure before the collation can continue.
The PDP queried the non-usage of the SCRs in the conduct of the presidential election in some part of the country.
But the All Progress Congress Presidential Campaign Council spokesperson, Festus Keyamo, SAN, urged the PDP to follow the right channel in laying its complaints, stressing that the gathering was primarily for collation purpose and not to entertain complaints.
INEC Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu, also advised the PDP to approach the the commission’s headquarters to lodge its complaints.
Speaking yesterday at the Collation Centre, PDP agent, Mr. Osita Chidoka, queried why the SCRs should be made compulsory in some part of the country and not compulsory in other parts.
Chidoka, who was categorical about results from Bauchi, Borno and Yobe states, said the party has documented its observations as an official petition to the commission.
He said: “The issue before us, Mr. Chairman, is what we feel strongly about and the chairman of the PDP has written you a petition. We are worried that the promise you made, the commitment you made, and INEC made, that as we are doing this collation of results, you will give us the details of accreditation captured by the card reader in the country.
“Yesterday (Monday) my colleague raised the issue and we thought that when we come back this morning as we are listening to the states, we will be seeing the accreditation by the states by the card readers.
“This, Mr. Chairman, I’ll like to be on record that we want to see the accreditation for Bauchi state, for Borno and Yobe states in particular and of course, for the rest of the country because the number as we are seeing, it seems to me that we live in two countries.
“Why people in the south have issues with the SCRs, why complaints were all over the place, we seem to have quiet and peaceful elections in places where the people have complained of severe cases of insecurity and harassments by the military and bandits.
“So, we would like you Mr. Chairman and I forward this letter to you to say that we will appeal that if it is possible, Mr. Chairman that before we proceed to the next stage, you should please, project to us what the card reader has captured as the accreditation in these states.
“We are supposed to read from the card readers, the electronic collation as against the manual information that we are getting to process information here. While it isn’t yet signed into law in your guidelines it was made clear that no voting should take place where there are no card readers. So, Mr. Chairman, we must appeal to you that we would like you to project the accreditation, as done by the card readers.
In his response, the INEC boss urged the protesting party to submit its letter to the commission’s headquarters, assuring that the commission will surely look into the petition and respond accordingly.
Yakubu said: “Thank you Mr.Chidoka, but there is a procedure for submitting correspondence to the Commission.
“We haven’t shut down our office. This is the International Conference Centre where we are using as Collation Centre. Kindly submit your letter to the office, it will be acknowledged. Your letter will now be studied and we will respond, accordingly. I believe that there are details in the letter that we need to study.”
Urging the PDP to route its letter appropriately, Keyamo said the APC also has some complaints but has chosen to follow the proper channel.
He said: “I just want contract to what my colleague of the PDP has said. Now, my simple reaction to this is that what we are doing here is guided by law and regulations of INEC.
“In the regulations of INEC, Clause 32 to 35 of the regulations clearly states the power of the Chairman of INEC in this sitting at the Collation centre and those powers does not involve the type of inquisition my friend is asking for.
“The details my friend is asking for amounts to inquisition into the results submitted to the Chairman of INEC. There is a proper channel to seek for inquisition into how many people were captured by the card readers and all that, compared to the results.
“That is not the power and duty of INEC Chairman sitting at the Collation Centre and those proceedings and powers are clearly stated.
“So, we have our own complaints about a lot of open rigging and massive thumb printing in Cross River and Rivers. So, we have a lot of complaints but we are only keeping our peace because we know the eight procedures to take to submit our complaints.”