© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
By refusing to sign Electoral Amendment Bill, Buhari already predetermined election result, says ADP candidate
THE presidential candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Sani Yagbaji, has discredited the results of the just-concluded elections as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Yagbaji, who spoke on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, said that the APC had already emerged winner of the elections two months before the actual polls held and that INEC merely fulfilled all righteousness by conducting what appeared like an election.
According to him, the predetermination of the election result began with the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the amended Electoral Bill into law. Buhari would go on to win the election by over four million votes.
Four times the national assembly passed the electoral amendment bill and forwarded it to the president to sign into law in accordance with the constitution, but on all four occasions, Buhari declined to assent to the bill, citing one flaw or another. The last reason the president gave for declining to assent to the Electoral Bill was that it was coming too close to the elections and may cause confusion.
Speaking during the interview on Tuesday, Yagbaji said: “The electoral law, which would have given the foundation for a free, fair, credible and peaceful election, was not signed into law by Mr President. So, right there, the election was already predetermined in the manner and the way it went.
“My take is that the election itself, the conduct of the elections itself, the arrangement, the preparation, the law that would have guaranteed free and fair elections was not allowed to be in place.
“For instance, if we were allowed to have elections transmitted via electronic means, there wouldn’t have been the cases of people manipulating elections at the collation centres. You wouldn’t have cases of people mobilising security agencies to go and intimidate, harass people because the results would have been at a centre where interference would have been minimal, if at all there would be any.”
Yagbaji also pointed out that vote buying was openly done by the present government through the ‘trade-money’ initiative, where, according to him, people were distributing money with the outfit and t-shirts of the APC and urging the people to vote for them in exchange for N10,000.
“We saw, Nigerians saw that this election was rigged,” Yagbaji said as a matter of factly. “All the institutions that would have guaranteed free and fair elections were cowed. In our eyes. We saw it.
“Until about two months or so to the elections, I had implicit confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari, that he was going to rise to the occasion and demonstrate that he is no longer just an ordinary Nigerian or ordinary president, but a statesman, by ensuring that conditions that would have guaranteed free and fair elections are present.
“But, unfortunately for us, the APC government, people surrounding Mr President, used him to lord it over Nigerians and made sure that no matter how credible you are, like my own self and my party, you will have nothing at the end of the day.”
Explaining further, Yagbaji said what happened was that in areas where Buhari he was not very popular, they ensured that at least he got the constitutionally required 25 per cent of votes.
“This election was predetermined already, votes were already determined, who would get what was already determined. I want Nigerians to wake up to these realities we have,” he said.
“APC won this election long long time ago because they knew what was going to happen. They knew that people were no longer supporting this government. So what they did is that they had an arrangement that would ensure that where Mr President didn’t win, because they didn’t want to cause any trouble, they made sure he got more than 25 per cent, so that going forward, he will fulfill the requirements of the law to remain in power at all cost. Every Nigerian knows this.”
Yagbaji, while not specifically accusing INEC of rigging the election, pointed out that the commission was helpless because the APC and the president had threatened to sanction and prosecute the National Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu.
“Didn’t you see what Oshiomhole was saying when the election was postponed?” he asked. “They were threatening the man. They said they were going to remove him. ‘We’re going to probe you after this elections’. President himself came out and said ‘we’re going to probe you after this elections’.
“You are weilding the power, you employed this man, and you are telling him ‘if you don’t do my bid, I will probe you?
“I said two months before this elections, all Nigerians knew that nobody had a chance in this election, even the PDP knew that they didn’t have a chance. Nobody was in doubt that this is how the elections will go.
“But we have a duty to this country not to, in any way, truncate this democracy that we have earned with sweat and blood. That is why some of us went ahead to participate in the elections.”
Yagbaji is not the only candidate alleging that the 2019 presidential election was fraudulent. Former Vice President of Nigeria, Abubakar Atiku, who contested on the platform of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, has also expressed same sentiments, describing this year’s polls as the worst in history.
Also, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Kingsley Moghalu, who ran on the platform of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), rejected the election results claiming that his votes were “stolen” by INEC.
But while Yagbaji and Moghalu appear to have resigned to fate, Atiku has vowed to challenge the election results in court.