The NEO AFRICANA CENTRE has said that the just released report of the BBC which exposed the alterations and falsifications that characterized the May 25 presidential elections in Nigeria is a reconfirmation of the doubts and misgivings which Nigerians have been expressing about the conduct and outcome of the elections.
The BBC had, on May 16, released a damning report of how the presidential election was compromised in Rivers State to pave way for a Bola Tinubu victory at the polls. The highlight of the report was the suppression of votes earned by Peter Obi and their attribution to Bola Tinubu. The report also lends more credence to the widely held allegation that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) worked in concert to manipulate the elections in favour of Tinubu.
In a statement by its Director of Public Affairs, Jenkins Udu, the public policy think tank commended the BBC for the diligent report and charges other media organizations with considerable clout and exposure to borrow a leaf from the bold and courageous effort of the BBC.
However, the Centre is of the view that what happened in Rivers State is not an isolated case. It believes that Rivers is just a test case as what transpired there must also have taken place in a number of other states. The Centre holds therefore that the logical consequence of this state of affairs is that the figures announced by INEC in the election were merely contrived and should therefore be jettisoned.
The statement reads in part:
“We have noted with more than a passing interest the result of the investigation carried out by the BBC on the 2023 presidential election with particular reference to Rivers State. Some of the damning discoveries are already too well known to Nigerians, and indeed, concerned members of the international community.
“We commend the broadcast organization for its due diligence in the report. The investigative ingenuity that went into the exercise should be emulated by other media organizations with considerable clout and exposure within and outside our shores. The report , coming from a credible medium such as BBC, lends more credence to what is already known to many Nigerians about the elections.
“Even though the media outfit restricted its investigation to just Rivers State, we are convinced that Rivers is not alone in this malfeasance. We believe that what transpired in Rivers State must have happened in a number of other states across the country. The cumulative effect of all this is that the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria cannot stand logical scrutiny. We are constrained to posit that the Independent National Electoral Commission merely contrived figures and allocated them at will.
“The report is also a reaffirmation of the earlier claim made by Mr Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State worked against him in the election. The report of suppression of Peter Obi’s votes and their false attribution to candidate Bola Tinubu is particularly disturbing. The action casts a very dangerous slur on the integrity and acceptability of the results announced by INEC in Rivers State and some other places in the country. We therefore reiterate the position we have severally held that the outcome of the presidential elections is questionable and should therefore be revisited.
“Indeed, the BBC report and many other claims and counter claims on the May 25 presidential elections are ready raw materials for the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal. The damning evidences should be deployed in the ongoing hearings on the elections. We expect that in the end, the interest of our democracy will be better served by the welter of evidences before the Tribunal. Nigerians are not expecting anything less.”