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Political parties say general elections not free and fair and accuse INEC officials of rigging the vote in favour of the All Progressives Congress

28 February 2023
Reading time: 13 minutes

The Labour Party (LP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) say Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has failed to conduct free and fair elections and they have accused it of rigging the votes in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the ruling party.

They claimed that the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV) failed to capture votes in some areas and, as a result, election results had been compromised. For that reason, they argued, INEC should suspend the collation of votes.

The former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, released a statement on Monday alleging that some INEC officials had been “compromised to manipulate” the results of the presidential election.

He said the failure of INEC to transmit all the election results electronically through use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the IReV servers had resulted in votes in some areas being manually collated.

He said Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of INEC, should postpone the elections for the areas where votes had been manually collated until Saturday, March 4, so that he could rectify matters.

By 10pm on Monday, February 27, INEC’s collation centre had received presidential election results from 14 states.

Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of INEC, closed the centre just after 10pm, saying collation would resume at 11am on Tuesday.

On Sunday night, the first of 36 states, Ekiti State, announced its results, putting the APC into an early lead. Ayobami Salami, Ekiti State’s resident electoral commissioner, said the APC’s Bola Tinubu had received 201,494 votes, followed by Atiku Abubakar of the PDP with 89,554 votes, Peter Obi of the LP who received 11,397 votes and Rabi’u Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) who got just 264 votes.

Although there were 18 candidates contending to become the new president, pollsters and analysts described the contest as a four-horse race between Tinuba, the APC candidate, Abubakar of the PDP, Obi of the LP and Kwankwaso of the NNPP.

Obi and Tinubu are from the southern region of the country, Kwankwaso and Atiku come from the north. The four heavyweights and strong contenders all had large followings, but only one will emerge as the successor to President Muhammadu Buhari whose two-term tenure ends on May 29.


On Monday results from 13 other states were announced.

Yakubu said the presidential election results from Kwara State showed that Tinubu of the APC received 263,572 votes followed by Abubakar of the PDP who got 136,909 votes. Obi of the LP received 31,166 votes and Kwankwaso of the NNPP got 3,141 votes.

In Osun State the APC received 343,945 votes, the PDP 354,366, the LP 23,283 and the NNPP 713.

In Ogun State the APC received 341,554 votes, the PDP 123,831, the LP 85,829 and the NNPP 2,200.

In Yobe State the PDP received 198,567, the APC 151,459 votes, the NNPP 18,270 and the LP 2,406.

In Enugu State the LP received 428,640 votes, the PDP 15,749, the APC 4,772 and the NNPP 1,808.

In Lagos State the LP received 582,454 votes, the APC 572,606, the PDP 75,750 votes and the NNPP 8,442.

In Gombe State the PDP received 319,123, the APC 146,977, the LP Labour Party 26,160 and the NNPP 10,520.

In Ondo State the APC received 369,924, the PDP 115,463, the LP 44,405 and the NNPP 930.

In Jigawa State the APC received 421,390, the PDP 386,587, the NNPP 98,234 and the LP 1,889.

In Katsina State the PDP received 489,045, the APC 482,283, the NNPP 69,386 and the LP 6,376.

In Adamawa State the PDP received 417,611 votes, the APC 182,881, the LP 105,648 and the NNPP 8,006.

In Nasarawa the LP received 191,361, the APC 172,922, the PDP 147,093 and the NNPP 12,715.

In Oyo State the APC received 449,884 votes, the PDP 182,977, the LP 99,110 and the NNPP 4,095.


Before Saturday’s general elections, INEC said it was using IReV to limit human error in the collation of the results to ensure that the process was fair for everyone.

However, the IReV system did not work in some areas and this concerned some political parties and voters.

INEC said that the issues were being resolved but this did not stop some party representatives staging a walk-out, saying they had lost faith in the process.

As a result, representatives of the LP and the PDP asked INEC to suspend the ongoing collation.

The leadership of both parties in Abuja issued media statements on Monday.

Akin Osuntokun, the director-general of the LP presidential campaign, said INEC and President Muhammadu Buhari had failed to deliver on their promise of free and fair elections.

He said the LP had received reports of electoral malpractices across the country and he accused INEC of not sticking to its guidelines.

Osuntokun urged INEC to carry out a comprehensive review of the exercise before deciding on whether to continue the collation process.

Debo Ologuagba, the PDP’s publicity secretary, accused INEC of rigging the elections in favour of the ruling APC. The PDP also accused the electoral umpire of flouting the Electoral Act by failing to transmit all the results to the INEC IReV server. The party claimed the integrity of the election results had been compromised.

The PDP accused INEC of deliberately delaying the start of the collation process and said it rejected the ongoing process.

The LP addressed reporters at a press briefing on Sunday accusing INEC of foul play, saying its officials across the country, particularly in the states of Lagos, Edo, Rivers and Imo, had “manipulated and manufactured” election results.

The party’s national chairman, Julius Abure, condemned the violence meted out to LP supporters during the elections and called on INEC to cancel the presidential results, describing them as “manufactured”, notably those from Rivers State.


Former president Olusegun Obasanjo appealed to INEC chairman Yakubu, to save the country from impending danger by rectifying the errors that occurred during the election processes.

He made the appeal in a statement released on Monday, by which time some of the results had already been collated and announced.

“Let me appeal to the chairman of INEC, if his hands are clean, to save Nigeria from the looming danger and disaster which is just waiting to happen,” Obasanjo said.

The 85-year-old statesman also appealed to citizens to exercise patience until the system was working correctly.

“Compatriot Nigerians, please exercise patience until the wrong is righted. I strongly believe that nobody will toy with the future and fortune of Nigeria at this juncture,” he said. “Long live Nigeria in peace, security, stability and in the hope for a greater future.”

He said that the electoral body should void results that had not gone through the BVAS and IReV server.

He suggested that Yakubu postpone the general elections until Saturday, March 4 so that the errors that occurred during voting on Saturday and Sunday could be rectified. He alleged that some INEC officials had accepted payoffs to make the BVAS and IReV servers malfunction and said that without these technologies the results were unacceptable and “doctored”.

“If the chairman can postpone elections four days, he can do everything to rectify the errors of the last two days – no BVAS, no result to be acceptable; and no uploading through server, no result to be acceptable,” he said.

Obasanjo said a lot of money was spent to introduce the BVAS and the IReV servers to ensure the immediate transmission of results from polling units.


“Nigerian Brothers and Sisters, greetings to you all. I am constrained to speak at this point. I crave the indulgence of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency General Muhammadu Buhari, to make this statement because I have had the opportunity to keep him aware of what I know is happening and the danger looming ahead.

On many occasions in the past, I have not hesitated to point out lacuna in the action of the President and his government. But as far as the election issues are concerned, the President has proved beyond reasonable doubt that he will want to leave a legacy of free, fair, transparent and credible elections.

Until last Saturday night, February 25, 2023, the good and noble plan and preparation for the elections seemed to be going well.

For the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a lot of money was spent to introduce [the] Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), and the Server [IRev] for immediate transmission of results from polling units. It is no secret that INEC officials, at the operational level, have been allegedly compromised to make what should have worked not to work and to revert to the manual transmission of results which is manipulated and the results doctored.

The Chairman of INEC may claim ignorance but he cannot fold his hands and do nothing when he knows that the election process has been corrupted and most of the results that are brought outside BVAS and [the] Server are not a true reflection of the will of Nigerians who have made their individual choice.

At this stage, we do not need wittingly or unwittingly to set this country on fire with the greed, irresponsibility and unpatriotic act of those who allegedly gave money to INEC officials for perversion and those who collected the blood money.

Let me appeal to the Chairman of INEC, if his hands are clean, to save Nigeria from the looming danger and disaster which is just waiting to happen. If the Chairman can postpone elections four days, … he can do everything to rectify the errors of the last two days – no BVAS, no result to be acceptable; and no uploading through Server, no result to be acceptable.

Whereas BVAS and Servers have been manipulated or rendered inactive, such results must be declared void and inadmissible for election declaration. Chairman INEC, I have thought that you would use this wonderful opportunity to mend your reputation and character for posterity.

Your Excellency, President Buhari Muhammadu, tension is building up and please let all elections that do not pass the credibility and transparency test be cancelled and be brought back with areas where elections were disrupted for next Saturday, March 4, 2023, and BVAS and Server officials be changed.

To know which stations or polling units were manipulated, let a Committee of INEC staff and representatives of the four major political parties with the Chairman of [the] Nigerian Bar Association look into what must be done to have hitch-free elections next Saturday. Mr. President, may your plan and hope for leaving a legacy of free, fair, transparent and credible election be realised.

Mr. President, please don’t let anybody say to you that it does not matter or it is the problem of INEC. On no account should you be seen as part of the collusion or compromise. When the die is cast, it will be your problem as the Chief Executive of the nation. The Chairman of INEC may sneak out of the country or go back to his ivory tower. Your Excellency, thank you for hearing me out.

Compatriot Nigerians, please exercise patience until the wrong is righted. I strongly believe that nobody will toy with the future and fortune of Nigeria at this juncture. Long live Nigeria in peace, security, stability and in the hope for greater future.”


An INEC official in Delta State was killed in an attack by unknown gunmen on Monday when he was delivering election results from the Ukwani Local Government Area. The state’s resident electoral commissioner, Monday Tom, confirmed the attack and killing while addressing journalists at the INEC collation centre in Asaba, the state capital.

He said INEC staff were on their way back to Asaba to deliver the results when they were attacked by unknown gunmen.

Ad hoc staff members from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) were wounded.

“The gunmen opened fire on their bus and unfortunately killed one INEC official and injured the corps members, who are receiving treatment. We are planning to move them to a hospital in Asaba,” he said.

There was a civil unrest in Lagos State, the hometown of APC presidential candidate Tinubu. The violence erupted on Monday after it became known that Tinubu had lost the vote in the state to the LP’s Obi. Immediately, soldiers from the Nigerian Army took position and secured the streets in Lagos Island, where hoodlums and thugs were harassing market owners and traders.

Tinubu had said on Saturday that, as a democrat, he would accept the outcome of the just-concluded elections. Once the outcome was announced, the former Lagos State governor said the victory of his counterpart in the LP showed the “beauty of democracy”.

Tinubu warned his followers to be calm and maintain peace, saying Obi’s victory in Lagos should not be a source of provocation.

In a statement, Bayo Onanuga, the APC’s director of media and publicity of the presidential campaign council, said: “The APC candidate said that as a democrat he is bound to accept the outcome of any election whether favourable or not.”

However, he said Tinubu was seriously concerned about reports of violence in parts of the state, specifically attacks on some traders of Igbo origin. He condemned any form of violence against people of any ethnic group in Lagos.

“The fact that the APC narrowly lost Lagos State to another party should not be the reason for violence. As a democrat, you win some, you lose some. We must allow the process to continue unhindered across the country while we maintain peace and decorum.”

Election observers from the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) also expressed concern about the violence that erupted in some parts of the country at the end of the general elections.

Dr Joyce Banda, the leader of the NDI-IRI election observer group, told reporters at a news conference in Abuja that by signing the peace accord, presidential aspirants had been given the opportunity to caution their supporters. But they had failed to achieve that.

The group said the election fell short of its expectations owing to the lack of adequate logistics, which was one of the causes of political violence.

The European Union (EU) observer mission also noted concerns about vote buying, violence and the delay in the deployment and commencement of the elections.

Barry Andrews, the EU chief election observer, said the lack of transparency by INEC over its delay in uploading results on its IReV portal promptly had triggered tension across the country.

The group was critical of the inability of some eligible voters to cast their ballots because of the cash crunch and fuel shortages.


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