March 17, 2023

Presidential election results came as shock to many — Presidency

Security operatives manning the ballot boxes during the PDP 2017 National Convention at the Eagle Square, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida

*Says govs not gods, security agencies’ll prevent rigging

By Juliet Umeh

The Presidency said, yesterday, that results of the February 25 presidential election came as a shock to many who had declared a winner before the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, did.

It also urged security agencies to deal decisively with those out to perpetrate rigging in tomorrow’s governorship and state assemblies election, cautioning governors not to play god in encouraging rigging out of desperation.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, who made the observation in an interview on Arise Television News, yesteday, said many had expected a different person to win the election but were confounded when INEC declared someone else.

He noted that despite the irregularities observed in the conduct of the presidential election, it remained the most improved in Nigeria’s history. 

On the desperation of some governors to win the governorship, Shehu said the law enforcement agencies would clampdown on any act of voter intimidation and violence during the poll, noting that such desperations often result in violence

He said despite the growing concerns over governors’ reported plans to rig the election in Rivers, Edo, Enugu, Kano and others, the will of Nigerians would prevail because law enforcement agencies would ensure that governors did not wield god-like influence on the outcomes.

Shehu said: “These governors are not gods. Before now, there used to be the assumption that when you finish your tenure as a governor, you are entitled to proceed to the Senate.

“But we have seen several of them lose their senatorial bids because, ultimately, it is the will of the people that counts.” 

He argued that President Muhammadu Buhari was “above conspiracy” in the outcome of the February 25 elections, which many Nigerians alleged was tilted in favour of APC.

It will be recalled that the All Progressives Congress’ presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, polled over eight million votes to emerge president-elect as announced by INEC on March 1.

Though controversies have trailed the conduct of the elections which local and foreign observers described as below the expectations of Nigerians, the presidential spokesperson said the electoral umpire acted within its powers when it transmitted results manually at the presidential and National Assembly elections.