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2023: Atiku will win in first ballot, PDP tells INEC

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THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to forget its preparations for a run-off election, saying its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, will win at the first ballot.

The PDP campaign spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, said this in a statement on Saturday.

Ologbodiyan told INEC that rather than waste its limited resources on whatever run-off preparations, it should deploy them towards conducting a free, fair, transparent and credible election that would be generally accepted by the majority of Nigerians.

The party counselled INEC not to listen to diversionary narratives by apologists of “the deflated All Progressives Congress (APC) who are ostensibly seeking ways to derail the election, having realised that their party has been rejected.”

The spokesperson said, “Our campaign is confident that by every indices and data available, our candidate, Atiku, will win the Presidential election of February 25, 2023, at the first run.”

The statement urged Nigerians to remain resolute in their determination to vote in their choice and take every step necessary within the ambit of the law to protect their votes.

INEC had on Friday, November 18, announced that it was making preparations for a possible run-off in the 2023 presidential election.

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INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye, who made this known during an interactive media session in Abuja, said that the commission had printed additional 93.5 million ballot papers for the run-off should the need arises.

He quoted Section 134 sub-section 2 of the Electoral Act, which states that a run-off is for the candidate with the highest number of votes and the candidate that has a majority of votes in the highest number of states.

He stated that if at the end of the day, there was no run-off, the commission would destroy the 93 million ballots printed for the run-off when election petitions had been disposed of.

Okoye, justifying why it printed the additional presidential ballot papers, said the law gives the commission only 21 days to engage in reverse logistics and conduct a run-off election in case there was no winner.

In July, a joint delegation of the United States-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) had said the 2023 elections would be a departure from some of the political dynamics that defined previous polls in Nigeria.

The delegation, which visited Nigeria and led by Secretary of State for Ohio, Frank LaRose, stated this while presenting its first joint pre-elections assessment statement to journalists in Abuja.

“If a third party draws sufficient support, a run-off presidential election could be a real possibility for the first time since the transition to democracy, adding complexity to the 2023 elections,” the institutes had said.

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