Our problem with S/East, S/South votes – Bakare

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* Says fire incident in his house mysterious

By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Dapo Akinrefon

VICE-PRESIDENTIAL candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Pastor Tunde Bakare, says, following alleged electoral  irregularities highlighted by his  party, especially in the South-east and South-south, the just conducted presidential election  should have been voided  by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

He also defended his party’s decision to seek legal redress over the alleged irregularities in the poll.
He, particularly, called on the chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, to ensure that all the ballot papers from the South-east and South- south remained  in the custody of the commission and avail his party of their use at the appropriate time to prosecute its case at the court.

On the Friday  fire incident in his residence, Bakare described it as part of the sacrifice he has to pay to get Nigeria going even as he said he has left the police and fire fighters to carry out investigations into the cause of the inferno.

Addressing a press conference in Lagos, yesterday, the vice presidential candidate  said the CPC decided to reject the declared results  of the presidential election, describing it as “unfair and unjust as it is a subversion of the popular will of the electorate.”

The pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly  lampooned the INEC chairman for refusing to heed his party’s  appeal to cancel the poll’s results  in the zones the CPC  had alleged irregularities.

His words: “In our letter of objection dated  18  April to INEC, we had appealed that the ballot papers and result sheets as collated from the South-east and South-south zones be scrutinised  in the interest of peace, prosperity, free, fair and credible election and order for cancellation of the results handed down from these zones in the event the investigation revealed the alleged breaches. The appeal was regarded as being impractical and accordingly ignored. The commission then swiftly proceeded to declare seriously flawed results which can now be seen in the light of this submission to be nothing but a charade. In polling units where elections were held, they were seemingly free, fair and credible. But behind the scene, there were loads of massive fraudulent thumb printing and blatant manipulation of figures at the ward and local government collation centers.”

Bakare argued that the integrity of elections is crucial for the survival of “our nascent democracy”, maintaining that no legitimate government can be founded on a stolen mandate.
According to him, “we consider the subversion of the popular will to be the worst form of corruption that can befall any nation.”

He further called on INEC to take custody of all the election materials and make the ballot papers in support of votes cast in the South-south and the South-east zones available for a representative sample of the thumb prints to be matched with the biometric based voters register by forensic experts.

Reiterating his party’s decision to seek legal means to reclaim the party’s “stolen mandate”, he said “if the ballot papers and or figures were found to have been substantially manipulated, the commission should be bold enough to reverse its decision on the declared results  if only in the interest of peace and greater public good.

In addition, he said, “We must put on record that Professor Jega did not tell the truth when he asserted in his press briefing that it was INEC staffers who discovered the deflation of our votes in Kano and Katsina by 26 per cent and 40 per cent by excel sheets. It was our agent who discovered this and pointed out to the commission and the objection was sustained after verification. It was after this that the INEC chairman demanded an official letter to have the  results cross checked before final results were announced. We compiled with this directive, but Professor Jega went ahead to announce the doubtful figures, this is a big credibility question the INEC chairman will live with forever.”

On the  riots  in some northern states, Bakare appealed for calm, saying the “CPC will pursue all legal and constitutional means to reverse the injustice done to the electoral process and reclaim our stolen mandate.”
Commenting on the fire outbreak in his residence, he said, “I have allowed men of the Nigeria Police and the fire fighters to find out the cause of the fire. I will not sensationalise the fire incident. I can only call it a mysterious fire because I was at home reading the newspapers.  None of us inside the building knew that the mysterious fire had  engulfed the building. It was one of our neighbours who started shouting fire that alerted us. When I got out, I saw a thick smoke. I directed my children to go out and we did not take anything out.”

Continuing, he said, “There is nothing like electrical spark in my house. This is what happened that one cannot explain how it happened.  The fire is mystery to me. That is why I have not returned to the building.  I am not panicking, it does not trouble my mind. I slept all through the night and I ate well because I don’t have problem. The building is fully insured.”

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