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Nigerian Opposition Party Reacts to Presidential Election Result


Definitive results are expected today (Monday) for Nigeria’s presidential elections described as flawed by both international and local observers. Earlier results showed Umaru Yar'Adua of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) had taken a commanding lead. But opposition parties have unanimously condemned the Independent Electoral Commission for organizing poor election and are demanding that the elections be scrapped and re-organized. Meanwhile, the opposition Action Congress party says it will seek legal action to address what the party says were flawed elections.

From the capital, Abuja, Action Congress Party spokesman Lai Mohammed tells the Voice of America that the elections were skewed in favor of the ruling party.

“These reports were not unexpected, due to the fact that PDP fairly rigged the election a long time before the election date. For instance, we raised an alarm on Thursday that a truckload of ballot papers already thumb printed in favor of PDP was intercepted by the military authorities and impounded. Similarly, 141 ballot boxes were also intercepted Kebi state,” Mohammed pointed out.

He said the Action Congress party petitioned INEC on the need to level the playing field, but received no response from the electoral body.

“We wrote a letter to INEC, asking INEC to make a public bonfire of all old ballot papers. All ballot papers printed prior the Supreme Court’s ruling that Atiku Abubakar (Vice President) must contest the election. They did not even reply to that letter. So, it was clear to us from the beginning that this election was going to be rigged massively,” he said.

Mohammed said although observers have condemned the irregularities at the way the election was conducted, members of the Action Congress would be meeting to decide their next move.

“I’m happy that the international observers have confirmed that the election of Saturday was worse and more massively rigged than that of 14th of April. Our party will be meeting very soon and we shall henceforth after that meeting take a decisive action,” he noted.

Mohammed said he has lost confidence in the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu.

“We stopped believing Iwu a long time ago. You see because the same Iwu who claimed that the ballot papers were not in the country until that morning, you will remember that in the Punch (Independent newspaper) of the similar day his director of operations, Alhaji Jawri confirmed that the ballot papers were already in the country and were already being distributed. Whom do we believe, Iwu or his commissioner for operations?” Mohammed asked.

He said the Action Congress Party would be seeking a court’s injunction to throw out the presidential election result.

“We shall seek through the law courts; through the tribunals and every legal means to upturn the results of these massively rigged election,” he said.

Mohammed explains why the Action Congress Party participated in an election, for which the party claims the results were predetermined.

“We took part for two reasons; number one, if the massive boycott planned by all the political parties in including the ANPP (All Nigeria Peoples Party) had gone through, that would have given us the opportunity to deprive the entire sham election fallen credibility. But regrettably, at the last moment the ANPP backed out. So, if we had continued with the boycott, it would have been quite ineffective. Secondly, it’s for us to be able to go to court and upturn this sham election. We must participate. Otherwise we would have no legal standing,” he said.

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