By Law Mefor
Many Nigerians are missing the point. They keep talking of the promises made by INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu. The issue at stake is the law and not anybody’s promise.
Yes, collation of presidential election results will be manual, but that shall be after electronic transmission of the same results from the Polling Units. Collation of results WITHOUT cross-checking with BVAS is illegal. The Electoral Act is unambiguous about this procedure and concurrency requirement between BVAS figures and manual figures.
This simply means that manual collation cannot proceed without first being tallied with figures from BVAS. That’s the position of the extant Act and that’s what Electoral Act section 60, 64, 68, and INEC Rule No38 meant – electronic transmission of results, etc.
This is not a promise by Prof Yakubu but what the law says he must do. It is not optional or discretionary.
What Prof Yakubu therefore is trying to do is simple: anounce somebody the winner and let everybody else go to the tribunal. This is wilfully dangerous. The person will then rely on his incumbent powers as a sitting president to muzzle and validate the fraud at the expense of our hard-earned democracy.
My point is: BVAS is no longer an administrative instrument. It is now a legal instrument. The Electoral Act stipulates its two key principal functions that must be complied with , namely: 1)accreditation, and 2) transmission of results that must preceed and tally with manual versions of the results.
Bypassing BVAS and asking everybody to go to the tribunal is both illegal and an affront on Nigerians because reliance on electronic transmission of results with BVAS is not administrative but a legal requirement.
I don’t care who really wins. Tinubu, Atiku and Obi should not be allowed to emerge through this fraud-prone process. So it is not because anybody is the beneficiary; nobody should.
Nigerians must stop the charade now if they do not want the return of the military or an unelected ING. Those are the only seeming two options left if INEC chairman insists on this brazen illegality and gets away with it.
We should bear in mind that INEC Guidelines or Rules cannot override the Electoral Act or the Constitution, and this is the Supreme Court ruling on same. A Guideline or Rule is just operationalising the law and not a new law. INEC is not a law making agency.
Obasanjo, NLC and opposition parties, and indeed several critical stakeholders who have raised objections to this INEC are charade are therefore right for calling for halting of the process and doing the needful to save the nation and her citizens further ordeals.
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