The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has accused PDP’s presidential candidate in the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar, of manufacturing results of the last presidential election to prove his case at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.
The electoral umpire filed its response on Thursday at the tribunal in Abuja. It distanced itself from an electronic sheet that purportedly contained the genuine results of the presidential election.
Recall that Atiku’s legal team submitted the sheet at the tribunal last month, contending it was obtained from an internal compilation of results on INEC’s Internet server.
The team, amongst other submissions, said Atiku won by more than six million votes, but his victory was allegedly suppressed by the commission in favour of incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.
In its reaction to Atiku and PDP’s petition, the ruling All Progressives Congress and President Buhari’s campaign in particular wrote to the police and the Department of State Security Service (DSS) to launch a criminal investigation against Atiku. It accused him of maliciously accessing INEC’s files.
However, in a response, INEC said it, “does not share information with such an unclassified entity and any information purportedly derived there from which does not accord with the result as declared by INEC is not authentic but rather was invented for the purpose” of the tribunal, according to excerpts of the filings.
In the 291-page response, INEC said it did not transmit results via electronic channels, but used manual collation as stipulated by law. It, however, did not say whether it collated results from across the country and compiled them on an Internet-enabled computer.
“INEC specifically denies the existence of electronic transmission of results and it is unknown to the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended),” it said.
The electoral umpire also said it was satisfied by the academic documents submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari while running for office.
Atiku’s legal team said Buhari claimed, in INEC filings, to have attended a school that could not be traced. He also said Buhari claimed to bear a certificate that was not in existence at the time he claimed to have obtained it.
But in its response to Atiku’s grounds at the Presidential Elections Petitions Tribunal in Abuja, INEC said it had no objections about Buhari’s academic documents.
The commission said it was “satisfied with the educational qualification presented” by Buhari to contest for office.
It argued that Atiku’s petition was “incompetent”, “lacking in merit” and “frivolous”. It also prayed the court to dismiss it.
Buhari was declared winner of the polls with about 3.9 million votes. He will be sworn in for a second term on May 29.