Leadership of Nigeria’s opposition party the All Progressives Congress (APC) have condemned the election process in two southern states and demanded the cancellation of results amid allegations of widespread irregularities and ballot rigging, the Daily Independent in Nigeria reported. APC party leader and Anambra Sen. Chris Ngige said during a news conference Sunday that vote rigging was so massive in Anambra state that his party had no choice but to request the cancellation of the election.
Ngige also called for the release of party members in Nnewi South and Idemili South who “refused to collaborate” and were “held captive,” the Daily Independent reported. Meanwhile, APC state chairman Amadu Atai called on Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel the presidential and national assembly elections in Akwa Ibom and hold a fresh poll due to alleged evidence of malpractice.
“At virtually every polling unit in Uyo Senatorial District (USD), result sheets were not available. The result sheet is one of the sensitive materials that must be used for the conduct of elections, INEC guidelines state. Some of the polling units in USD, which insisted that there would be no voting without result sheets, were later supplied with fake result sheets, which obviously lacked the barcode that the original result sheet has,” Atai said during a news conference in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom state.
Atai said widespread violence had also marred the elections in the southern state. “In Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area, the Commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs in the administration of Godswill Akpabio, Prince Uwem Ita Etuk went around with policemen and thugs beating up and maiming people while carting away voting materials at almost every polling unit in the area,” he said Sunday, reported P.M. News, an evening newspaper in Nigeria.
Atai called for the redeployment of Austin Okojie, the INEC resident commissioner for Akwa Ibom, who the APC accused of compromising the elections.
Two thousand female members of the APC protested in Port Harcourt on Monday, demanding the cancellation of Saturday’s elections in Rivers state. The demonstration came after Gov. Rotmi Amaechi of Rivers state refused to register and vote in the polls, News24 in Nigeria reported.
Meanwhile, a representative of Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election campaign has accused the media of spreading fake results about the incumbent losing to his primary challenger Muhammadu Buhari of the APC. The ongoing presidential election has pitted Buhari against Jonathan and his long-ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP).
Jonathan, a southern Christian, beat Buhari, a northern Muslim, in the last presidential election, which led to post-election protests and violence in northeast Nigeria. The PDP has won every presidential election in Nigeria since 1999.
Results Expected Tuesday
Saturday’s general elections ran over into Sunday, primarily because of technical issues with new biometric voting-card readers. The INEC said it expects to announce the initial results of Saturday’s presidential election by Tuesday, BBC News reported.
In addition to malfunctioning card readers and allegations of rigging, violent attacks by suspected Boko Haram militants have also plagued the elections, the Associated Press reported. At least 41 people were killed in attacks Saturday in northeast Nigeria, causing others to flee the polls. In the southern oil-producing region, thousands of Nigerians protested the alleged killings of opposition campaign workers and voting irregularities, which the INEC chairman has promised to investigate.
Still, the election has remained largely peaceful thus far compared with the last presidential race in 2011, when at least 800 people were killed in post-election violence in northeastern Nigeria.