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CPC: We have enough evidence to sack Jonathan

The Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Monday, disclosed the rationale behind its decision to challenge the outcome of the April 16 presidential election in court, saying it has gathered enough prima-facie evidence capable of sacking President Goodluck Jonathan from office this year.

CPC which Monday gave insight into some of the legal strategies it intend to employ at the presidential election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja, maintained that if it is established that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, got its votes as it was announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, “then our presidential  candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, will lead us to the Villa to formally congratulate the President and his deputy to the advancement of democracy, unity and stability of Nigeria”.

Briefing newsmen in Abuja Monday, the National Legal Adviser of the CPC, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, insisted that past experiences the party had in the processes of election cases in tribunals, informed its decision to opt for the Forensic/ Biometric system of evidence.

“Because of our experience in the processes of election cases in tribunals, we have learned that election petitions for the most part in the past failed to gain ground in our tribunals mainly because of paucity of evidence to proof cases. This, therefore, left us with no other option than to seek scientific ways, means and methods as the best and most effective platform to proof our case; hence our adoption and employment of Forensic/Biometric system of evidence.

“As lessons of history has taught us, in the life of a society or nation, there will come a time when a group of people must have to stand up and point out when the leadership is destroying the nation; explain why things are going wrongly; demonstrate how things can be done rightly; and work towards making a clear difference. It is for this reason that we in the CPC have decided to challenge these alleged concocted results of the Presidential Elections at the Tribunal.

“The fact that there are no two people with the same fingerprint, every fingerprint can therefore be scientifically verified basically through the following preliminary basics of the technical Biometrics/Forensics methods which details will be made available by the experts:- Since during the Voter-registration exercise, all the ten fingerprints of all voters were captured and stored in INEC’s Standard Data Bank, it is certain that every voter must have used a finger to vote in the election. This then makes it possible to authenticate and verify every print on every ballot. This is the importance and central reason for this novel registration exercise. This case will therefore depend mainly on the authentication and verification of the fingerprints on the disputed ballot papers cast;

“An electromechanical optical scan device with automatic tabulation called a “mark-sensing” system will be used; in this case the mark is the fingerprint; We expect INEC to produce the Ballot Papers voted upon with the fingerprint organized on the basis of their Polling Units, Wards, Local Govt. Area and State and delivered for processing. These will be processed on Polling Unit basis,which means that the scanners will take an image of each ballot paper, store the image in the appropriate location corresponding to its Polling Unit, Wards, LGA and State;

“When all images of ballot papers for a Polling Unit are taken, a processing program containing the agreed upon sorting parameters will read the party name which has a fingerprint, then extract the fingerprint and store.The following processes are then expected to take place within the records of each Polling Unit: – Compare all fingerprints with each other to detect all repetitive fingerprints, count all repetitive fingerprints, deduct the repeated fingerprints from the count for that Polling Unit, present a table of results showing non-repeated and repeated votes, compare all fingerprints processed with the already registered and  stored fingerprints of that Unit for any discrepancy, and count the total number of discrepancy, if any, this process will be repeated for each Polling Unit.

“Permit me to say that there are 2 key factors which will affect the time within which this work will be completed and they are: the speed at which our legal team completes the process in the Tribunal leading to the order of the release of the source data and documents (Voter registration records, Stored fingerprints, Ballot Papers, etc.) by INEC.

“The condition in which the ballot papers are received will determine if they need preparation or they will go straight into the scanners. On this second score, we urge INEC and we will plead to the Tribunal to order the Commission to guarantee the safety and good condition of all the elections materials. In fact, we will prefer the materials to be safe-kept in the vaults of the Central Bank.

“On the technical aspect of the process, we can confidently say that with the level of modern day technology, it won’t take long to conclude this procedure and establish the truth of the election. At the most, we can estimate between 50 – 65 days to be able to get all voters register authenticated, all disputed ballot papers examined, any other electoral document assessed, all findings compiled and submitted to the court, and return of all source data and documents
to INEC. Our firm has participated in 300 electoral processes in 19 countries with more than 500 million voters tallied for government, private and multilateral organizations.

“To the CPC, this use of Forensic/Biometric system based on INEC’s capturing of all the 10 fingers of every voter is a novel idea that can help solve forever the challenges of multiple voting and outright concoction of results; two critical issues in our electoral malpractices. Our present case in the tribunal is thus aimed at establishing the truth and preventing future elections malpractices in our country’s democratic experiment.

On the issue of the post election violence that heralded the announcement of the presidential poll result, the CPC through the statement signed and released by its legal adviser, maintained, “let us again on behalf of all members and sympathizers of our great party, extend our heart-felt sympathy and condolences to the families of those who lost their lives or property as a result of the violence that occasioned the elections. This includes all those affected before, during and after the polls. We would like to seize this opportunity to reiterate that our party is composed
of responsible and discipline members who do not in any way subscribe to the perpetration of any evil much less of encouraging any

“Our national history has however taught us that the determination to win elections by incumbents by any means has always given birth to spontaneous reactions in the form of break down of law and order.

“We recall the anger of the people of the Western Region in 1965 and the people of Ondo state in 1983 against the use of federal might to dislodge opposition governments in the South west in favour of the ruling parties at the federal level with concocted results.

The people spontaneously rose against these barbaric actions of the government. Police stations and houses of prominent NNA and NPN supporters were burnt and many people killed. In the case of Ondo state, the judicial decision that ceded Ondo back to the UPN came within the context of citizens’ determined effort to protect their votes. We are all living witnesses that the nation’s democracy suffered irreparably as a result.

To us in the CPC, it is our belief that the break down of law and order that ensued after the declaration of President Goodluck Jonathan as the President-elect on the basis of concocted results was the bye product of the determination to win elections by incumbents by any means which has always characterized such actions by historical antecedence.

“It is our contention that the declaration of false results assembled in places other than the Polling Unit in the instant Presidential Election is another reminder that the political class ruling and ruining Nigeria is not ready to allow electoral reform work.  Let us be reminded that already, this present PDP Federal Government has rejected the recommendation from the Electoral Reform Committee it set up that the new Independent National Electoral Committee should be appointed through an independent process anchored in the National Judicial Council.

“The Justice Uwais Committee had recommended that to transform INEC from a partisan, pro-president-of-the-day lackey to a professional and independent body, the President should lose the prerogative of appointing the Chairperson, National Commissioners and Resident State Electoral Commissioners of the Commission. The National Judicial Council was to take over that responsibility with citizens as nominations are to be made and considered by the public. But without any cogent justification at all, the government rejected it.

In fact, at the end of the day, the entire process of the electoral reform was jettisoned by the same government. What the nation ended up with is the unilateral appointment of an INEC Chairman whose integrity was eulogized more on his past views than actions.

I am sure patriotic Nigerians will agree with us that the final processes and outcome of the 2011 general elections are nothing any near to what our campaigns for true Electoral Reforms expected in enthroning for Nigeria free, fair and credible elections.

“We cannot therefore sit by and allow these electoral misdemeanors wreaking the very foundation of our country’s stability, prosperity and unity to continue unchecked forever. Since independence, the major political problem of our country has been that of elections. Transiting from one government to the other through the ballot box had always been the most difficult aspect of the nation’s democratic experiment.

In fact, on the two occasions the military took over the reins of power from civilian regimes, in 1966 and 1983, election malpractices were sighted as justification. Yet, till date, we do not seem to have learned our lessons. With every election, including the last Presidential Election, the electorates continue to lose confidence in the ability of the ballot box to express their will. This is a dangerous trend that must not be allowed to continue, lest we find our country sleepwalking into a disaster that we may not come out of.

“Please permit me to use the President’s own Polling Unit to illustrate the level of electoral fraud perpetrated in the election as we saw it. Osazi Playground Polling Unit has a total number of 908 registered voters. On the 16th of April election, only 424 voters turned out to cast their votes, with 413 voting for the President while 11 ballots were invalidated. This represents a total of 47% voter turnout in that unit. However, for the rest of Bayelsa state, the total voters’ turnout as recorded by INEC was 87% with a total of 96% voting the President.

One would have expected that if there was going to be a massive voter turnout, no other place would have surpassed the President’s own unit. Because this unit comprises his close and distant relatives – his parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunties, cousins, nephews, childhood friends, etc. But surprisingly, not half of these came out to vote their own, yet the rest of Bayelsa and the South-south turned out over 90% to vote “their son”. The truth is that the President did not want anything to cause problem in his ballot box which would have embarrassed him politically. So that box was guarded against any malpractice and so what came out of the box was actually what transpired; but the rest of Bayelsa and others can do as they pleased. This is electoral fraud personified”, it stated.

It would be recalled that the opposition party has beseeched the election tribunal to declare that President Jonathan and his running mate, Architect Namadi Sambo, were not duly elected in respect of Kaduna, Sokoto, Nasarawa, Kwara, Adamawa, Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Enugu, Cross River, Rivers, Ebonyi, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo Anambra, Benue, Lagos, Plateau states and the FCT.

In its petition anchored on two grounds, CPC further asked the tribunal to set aside the presidential election of April 16, 2011 and organise a fresh election between it and the PDP, insisting that it would prove at the hearing of the petition that there was substantial variation in the voters’ register used by the INEC for the conduct of the presidential and governorship elections respectively, which it said would further prove that  INEC and its chairman, Attahiru Jega, unlawfully manipulated the register to the advantage of the ruling party.

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