The All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) has called for calm as the nation awaits the declaration of results of the February 25 presidential election.
The Adviser on Media, Communications and Public Affairs of the APC-PCC, Dele Alake, cautioned Nigerians against whipping up religious or ethnic sentiments on the conduct of the election.
Alake believed that the conduct of the 2023 presidential election was an improvement on the previous elections.
His words: “As the nation awaits the release of the final results of Presidential elections, the APC and PCC appeals for calm from all stakeholders and Nigerians in general. We believe strongly in the unity of this country and any attempt to whip up sentiments along religious or ethnic lines must be rejected by all.
“Since the voting process rounded off in most of the 176,606 polling units across the 774 councils of the federation and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, on Saturday February 25, 2023, we have continued to monitor developments.
“Reports from our agents on ground across the country point to incidents of technical challenges and man-made issues. At some centres, there was late arrival of voting materials and glitch of BVAS. We note that in locations where these were severe, the INEC National Chairman, Prof. Yakubu, authorised either the extension of voting time or outright postponement of the exercise to another day.
“Also, we received reports of attacks and intimidation of our supporters in some areas by agents of opposition parties. In many areas, our supporters complained of their inability to transport themselves to areas where they duly registered due to their inability to access their savings in banks due to the ongoing Naira crisis.”
Alake stated that despite the teething challenges from BVAS in some centres and pockets of violence here and there, the PCC believes the exercise conducted by INEC on Saturday was still generally a vast improvement on previous ones conducted since the return of democracy in 1999.
He said: “We, therefore, want to seize this opportunity to commend members of our security agencies for the professionalism demonstrated in providing relative conducive climate for generality of voters to exercise their franchise across the country. A fact already attested to by the consortium of election monitors — both local and international —that Nigeria made a significant progress in her democratic journey with yesterday’s conduct.”
The APC Campaign Council expressed implicit confidence in the electoral umpire to follow through with the declaration of the results.
According to Alake, “As the party that was most well prepared for the 2023 polls and whose presidential candidate and others ran what has widely been adjudged the best campaign, we, of course, have a functional Situation Room to which our 176,606 agents filed accurate data in real time, bearing true reflection of the wishes and aspirations of voters expressed freely yesterday.
“But in line with extant provisions of the Electoral Act, we believe the onus for declaring election results lies squarely with INEC.
“It is for this reason we are calling on other parties to refrain from self-help at this point in form of premature declaration of results or making inflammatory statements capable of undermining the integrity of the electoral process.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we at the APC-PCC wish to express our implicit confidence in INEC to follow through the remaining steps of the election process leading to the eventual declaration of the winner of the presidential election held on February 25.”