According to INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, the difference in the valid votes and cancellations in the course of the collation were too insignificant to impact on the general outcome of the election. As a result, he went ahead to declare the APC and its candidate Muhammadu Buhari as winners of the 2019 presidential election despite the protests by the PDP.
Speaking just before declaring Buhari as winner at the collation center in Abuja, Yakubu admitted that the commission noticed the figures of accredited voters in relation to those of vote cast did not add up in one or two instances. However, he said, a preliminary investigation revealed that the cumulative disparity was actually less than two percent.
“We also very strongly believe that the widespread incidents of ballot box snatching, particularly in many areas after voting means that you have data on the smart card reader but not backed up by actual ballot because the ballot was either hijacked, burnt down or destroyed. Therefore the information on the smart card reader is slightly to be higher than the actual ballot, meaning the vote cast, but this is only by way of preliminary investigation,” Yakubu said.
He said the observations raised by party agents, including that of the PDP, would be useful for future elections, including those of 2023.
What next?: Already, the candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar has said he rejects the result of the polls as announced by INEC and would be challenging it in court.