More controversies trail the February 23 elections as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State have rejected the outcome of last Saturday’s presidential and national assembly elections in the state as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Like its national chapter that has vowed to challenge the outcome of the presidential elections in states including Katsina, Kano, Borno, Yobe, Zamfara and Nasarawa in court, the state chapter branded the Kwara election a sham.
The Kwara State PDP during a press conference on Thursday, said it took this decision after a thorough review of the conduct of the election, which it said was marred by widespread irregularities in different parts of the state.
The State Chairman, Kola Shittu, explained that “Reports we received from our polling agents across the state indicated that the electoral process was characterized by massive anomalies that put the credibility of the exercise in doubt.
“Although the election was largely peaceful as there was no record of violence in any part of the state, our agents reported that the exercise was fraught with several discrepancies such as card readers failure, over-voting and inflation of figures.
“In addition, our agents were also harassed and intimidated by some compromised security officials for complaining that card readers were not used for voting in their polling units.
“For the avoidance of doubt, in over 70 per cent of polling units across the State, card readers were not used for voting as they only verified voters but could not authenticate their fingerprints, which led to the use of manual screening of voters. This gave room for perpetuation of electoral fraud in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“We also received report of how APC agents made use of unclaimed PVCs to vote at some polling units across the State particularity within Kwara Central. Also, many of the local observers accredited by INEC to monitor the election were APC members.
“Additionally, prior to the day of the election, the Federal Government backed APC made some retrogressive and undemocratic moves, using state apparatus to intimidate and arrest some of our members and supporters in some parts of the State.
“Of particular note was the Kwara senatorial candidate of our party, Dr Rafiu Ibrahim who was arrested and unlawfully detained by the Police less than 48 hours to the commencement of an election he was a major contender. This was apparently done to keep him out of circulation and give his opponent undue advantage.
“From the foregoing, election held in Kwara over the weekend cannot be said to be free, fair and credible. And it is on this basis that our party is rejecting the results of the presidential and national assembly election announced by INEC. The outcome of the exercise did not in any way represent the wish of majority of the electorate.
“Therefore, we will further review the circumstances surrounding the conduct of the election and take every lawful means to pursue our rights.
“Meanwhile, we want to thank Kwarans for going out en masse to exercise their civic duty despite the obvious militarization of the election by the APC-led Federal Government.
“The party also asks the public to disregard fake online report that its governorship candidate, Hon. Razak Atunwa has pulled out of the guber race.
“The report is totally fasle, mischievous and misleading. Atunwa remains in the race and will emerge victorious by the grace of God and the support of Kwarans.”