2019 polls: Courts are guided by Electoral Act, not by social media videos —Keyamo

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Festus Keyamo, has said that some videos circulating on the social media purportedly showing how the February 23, 2019 presidential election was rigged are of no effect when weighed against the provisions of the Electoral Act and INEC’s guidelines.

INEC had declared candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari, winner of the election with 15,191,847 votes, as against PDP’s Atiku Abubakar’s 11,262,978 votes.

However, the Peoples Democratic Party and Atiku claimed that some results purportedly obtained from the INEC server showed that Atiku actually scored a total of 18,356,732 votes, and Buhari 16,741,430 votes.

Both PDP and Atiku claim to be in possession of certain documents proving that he won the presidential election overwhelmingly with 1.6m votes.

The PDP and Atiku have since filed a petition, precisely on March 20, to challenge President Buhari’s reelection, with APC and INEC as co-respondents.

In their petition to the tribunal, PDP and Atiku deposed that some ad hoc staff and other INEC officials, relying on the training/instruction by the first respondent (INEC), transmitted the scores they got from the polling units to INEC server.

Atiku and PDP went on to list 13 ad hoc staff of INEC who all testified that they, indeed, uploaded results from their polling units to the INEC server as instructed during their training.

Atiku, speaking through his lawyers at the tribunal led by Levi Uzoukwu (SAN), noted that the results he allegedly obtained from the INEC server were neither false, nor contrived, nor concocted.

In a series of tweets on Thursday, Keyamo, who was Director, Strategic Communications of President Buhari’s 2019 presidential campaign, took to his verified Twitter handle @fkeyamo, warning that whatever video or evidence there were, they could not withstand the provisions of the Electoral Act or those on INEC guidelines.

Keyamo tweeted: “Without referring to any particular pending Election Petition, there’s a need to generally guide Nigerians not to gullibly fall for the fantasy created by any video circulating where INEC official(s) spoke of INEC’s plan to electronically transmit results before the elections.

“The video(s) of some INEC official(s) expressing intention to electronically transmit results are only circulated for entertainment. That procedure is neither contained in the Electoral Act nor in INEC’s Guidelines. Courts are only guided by these documents and not such videos.

“Also, what you plan to do may be different from what you actually did. Assuming INEC planned to transmit electronically, the moment it said after the election that it did not do so, the matter ends there, especially as the Electoral Act and the guidelines do not allow it to do so.

“In anticipation of the electronic transmission, some crooks concocted fictitious results and perhaps in connivance with certain INEC insiders (or by hacking) tried to upload those results into the server. The fact that electronic transmission didn’t happen destroyed their plan

“The irony is that the real cheats are the ones struggling to create a narrative that they were cheated; the real crooks are the ones struggling to convince everyone that the system is crooked; those who actually planned to steal the people’s mandate are the ones crying foul.

“The noise about electronic transmission of INEC results is akin to a student who wants to cheat in an exam and enters the hall with prepared answers, not noticing that the set questions are not exactly framed as expected.

“So, when he’s later told he failed, he says it’s impossible!”

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