Thursday, April 21, 2011

CPC going to court after Presidential poll

Presidential poll: We’ll go to court – CPC - The Congress for Progressive Change has begun consultations with a team of lawyers aimed at challenging the result of the April 16 presidential election in court.

The spokesman for the CPC presidential candidate, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, disclosed this just as the Untied States described the election as an “historic event.”

Speaking with one of our correspondents on Wednesday, Odumakin claimed that the CPC had enough evidence to prove that the poll was rigged.

But he was quick to add that Buhari, as a person, was not part of the decision of the party to contest the result.

Buhari, a former head of state, came second in the election by polling 12,214,853 votes. The winner, President Goodluck Jonathan, scored 22,495,187 votes.

Odumakin said, “The party and a team of lawyers are meeting on that (the planned case). The CPC as a party will challenge the result in court, but Gen. Buhari as a person will not challenge it because he had gone to court in the past and he thought that was enough.”

He declined to give the details of the consultations.

Explaining why the party decided to challenge the outcome of the election in court, Odumakin said that before the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, announced the result , the CPC had complained about figures from some parts of the country.

He said, “INEC agreed that computer cheated us. He (Jega) has a letter, which was given to him on camera. He went on break for four hours, only to come back to announce a bogus result.”

Odumakin specifically faulted votes recorded by the PDP in the South-East and South-South, saying they were inflated.

“In the South-South and South-East, where turnout was between 20 and 40 per cent, 99.9 per cent results was recorded for the PDP.”

Odumakin had earlier in a statement on Wednesday, quoted Buhari as reminding his supporters that efforts were being made at the highest levels to recover their “stolen mandate.”

Buhari said in the statement described the riots that have trailed the result of the presidential election as being worse than rigging.

He also advised his supporters not to destroy their voter cards but to turn out enmasse for the governorship and state assembly polls on Tuesday.

In the statement titled “Press Statement Message of Peace and Hope To Nigerians,” the former military ruler thanked his supporters for the courage and perseverance exhibited them in the “tedious and tiring process of registration, accreditation, voting, protecting the vote and ensuring that it counted.”

He added, “I use this opportunity to inform you that we have commenced consultations at the highest levels to recover your stolen mandate. I would, therefore, urge you to continue to be patient.

“As I pointed out in my earlier address to you, it is wrong for you to allow miscreants to infiltrate your ranks and perpetrate such dastardly acts as the mindless destruction of worship places. Needless to say, this act is worse than the rigging of the elections.

“Information has reached me that, out of frustration, some of you have been destroying your voter cards. This is a very grievous mistake, which is not going to solve any of your problems. I urge you to preserve and safeguard your cards, and come out en-masse on Tuesday to vote out and disgrace your oppressors who have stolen your votes.

“If you don’t do this, it is to be feared that all your efforts will have been in vain.”

Odumakin said it was discovered that in Katsina and Kano states the computer was programmed to cheat the CPC, by 40 and 26 per cent

He stated that the fraud there was meant to reduce Buhari’s overall vote total.

He stated, “In the South-South and South-East the turnout physically, was between 25 and 40 per cent.

“Yet the results showed that 99 per cent, 98 per cent, and 97 per cent of the voters had voted for the PDP.

“We are collating all this information and confronting INEC with it. And then we will go to court. The party will go to court on this issue.”

When contacted to comment on the complaints of the CPC, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, said, “Going to court is what the law provides for. That is perfect.”

But the PDP called on Buhari to cultivate the habit of living up to his promise.

The party said it was unfortunate that Buhari could make such a U-turn on his promise not to challenge the outcome of the poll. The National Legal Adviser of the PDP, Chief Olusola Oke, who spoke on behalf of the party, said the most honourable thing Nigerians expected of Buhari was to live by the promise.

The party lampooned the former military ruler for his refusal to gauge the mood of Nigerians and international community who, it said, had all adjudged the election as one of the freest to have been conducted in the country.

Oke said, “It is regrettable that Nigerian politicians have all refused to learn from history. They have also refused to learn to accept defeat.

“The Buhari case is worrisome because of the promise he had made to the electorate that he would not challenge the result of the election in court.

“It is unfortunate that he is unable to stand by his own words. He has lied to Nigerians and we are not against that, it is left for the people to judge the kind of a man he is.

“Buhari is aware that this election had been described by local and international observers as one of the freest elections in the country.

“However, we are not afraid of going to court. We would meet him at the tribunal where we hope and promise to defend the mandate giving to the President by over 22 million Nigerians. We have nothing to fear by his going to court. We will meet there.”

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