From Olalekan Awojodu, Abuja
Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the just concluded Senatorial election in Kogi Central, has written a petition tothe Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof Mahmoud Yakubu demanding a review of the election.
Akpoti-Uduaghan in the letter dated March 1, 2023 is specifically demanding for a review of the declaration and return of candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abubakar Ohore as winner of the February 25 senatorial election in Kogi Central Senatorial District.
The request which is brought pursuant to Section 65 of the Electoral Act, 2022, is amongst others claiming that the Returning Officer for the Senatorial District “wrongly” declare and return the APC as winner of the said election.
Akpoti-Uduaghan in the letter written by his lawyer, Mr Johnson Usman, claimed that, “the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) was wrongly returned with 52,132 votes and declared the winner of the election in the Senatorial District while our Client was wrongly credited with 51,763 votes”.
According to the letter, the mistake was following a careful and meticulous review of the election results from the duplicate of the result sheets, which revealed that votes were manipulated and adjusted in favor of the APC’s candidate.
She claimed that the alleged manipulation of results occurred in three polling units in Ganaja Township Ward in Ajaokuta Local Governement Area of Kogi State.
“The Polling Unit affected by manipulation of the step by step recording of polls contrary to section 70 are as follows:
a. In Polling Unit 009 on Form EC8 A(I), the votes scored by APC was 105 while that of PDP was 751 but when the votes were transferred to Form EC8B(I), 205 votes were recorded for APC and 51 votes was recorded for PDP, the effect of the manipulation led to wrongful crediting of APC with 100 votes while PDP was deprived of 700 votes.
b. In Polling Unit 049 on Form EC8 A(I), the votes scored by APC was 46 votes while that of PDP was 210 but when the votes were transferred to Form EC8B(I), 290 votes were recorded for APC and 10 votes was recorded for PDP, the effect of the manipulation led to wrongful crediting of APC with 244 votes while PDP was deprived of 200 votes.
c. In Polling Unit 046 on Form EC8 A(I), the votes scored by APC was 51 while that of PDP was 112 but when the votes were transferred to Form EC8B(I), 640 votes were recorded for APC and 16 votes was recorded for PDP, the effect of the manipulation led to wrongful crediting of APC with 589 votes while PDP was deprived of 96 votes.
“Find attached the Forms EC8 As, 8B and 8C. The information contained therein are the same as uploaded on the commission server”, she said.
The PDP candidate argued that if the recordings were properly done and correctly imputed, Akpoti-Uduaghan would have won the election in the Senatorial District because as against 1,135 votes wrongly recorded for APC, what ought to have been recorded for APC is only 202 votes, and the excess manipulative and fictitious 933 votes would not have formed part of the election result in the polling units while PDP would have earned 1,073 as against the 77 votes recorded in PDP’s favor.
“In other words, PDP ought to have been credited with additional 996 votes.
The overall effect of the wrongful computation is evident in the return and declaration of Engr. Abubakar Ohere as the winner of the election of the Kogi Central Senatorial District because the candidate that received the highest number of votes was not declared the winner.
“From the foregoing, we have Our Client’s firm instructions pursuant to Section 65 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 to demand and hereby demand for a review of the declaration and return of Engr. Abubakar Sadiku Ohere made by the Returning Officer for Senatorial District because if the 993 votes wrongly credited to the APC candidate is deducted from 52,132 votes wrongly credited to him, his total scored would have been 51,199 votes and if the 996 votes wrongly deducted from Our Client’s votes was added to 51,763 votes, she would have recorded 52,729. In the circumstance Our Client would have won the election with 1,530 votes.
“The cumulative effect of the above analysis shows that the Declaration and Return that was made by the Returning Officer for the Kogi Central Senatorial District was made contrary to the law; particularly Sections 51(2) & (3), 66 and 70 among others of the Electoral Act, 2022. These violations of the law substantially affected the result of the election as declared and therefore led to wrongful declaration and return of the APC’s candidate otherwise. Our Client who won the election ought to have been declared the winner of the election by virtue of the total lawful votes recorded at the election.
“We humbly call on you to use your good offices in reviewing the above and declare Our Client as the winner of the Kogi Central Senatorial District election conducted on February 25, 2023”, the letter read in part.
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