(By Iheanyi Ezinwo)- As mixed reactions greet the Wednesday’s declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as winner of the Saturday, 23 February, 2019 Presidential election in Nigeria by the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, Hon. Onueze Okocha, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, said the exercise was bungled by INEC, marred with irregularities and produced doubtful results,
Reacting in an exclusive interview with Notable Outcome on Wednesday in Port Harcourt, the former National President of the Nigerian Bar Association said:”I find myself unable to agree that Nigeria has re-elected President Buhari. The conduct of the so-called elections was very badly bungled by INEC. Many eligible Nigerians were not allowed to exercise their democratic right to vote for the candidates of their choice.
“Violence and several other irregularities marred the process, and the unlawful participation of the Military in the elections worsened the situation. The results from several States showed figures that can only be said to be false, especially as INEC has failed to produce verifiable records for the accreditation of voters. Corruption in various forms also marred the elections.
“ In my humble view, a candidate who claims that he was elected in those circumstances cannot really have the moral authority to serve as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, the colossus in the legal profession asserted.
Similarly, a Port Harcourt based businessman, Mr. George Ariolu, has dismissed the exercise as a fraud, being marred with rigging and lack of transparency from INEC. According to Mr. Ariolu, the standard of election in Nigeria has been lowered compared to that of 2015, even as he queried the reported large turn out of voters in the war turn states of Yobe and Borno, North East Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC , in Rivers State, Chris Finebone, has hailed the outcome of the election as commendable, and reflecting the wishes of the vast majority of Nigerians.
The position of the soft spoken politician was also corroborated by Senator Magnus Abe, a governorship contender on the APC in Rivers State, who went further to congratulate President Buhari for what he described as well deserved victory but demanded for the punishment of electoral offenders in the Saturday election.
In a related development, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and Buhari’s closest rival in the election, Atiku Abubakar, has faulted the results declared as not being a true reflection of the outcome of the election and vowed to contest it.