One week after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the president-elect, the electoral umpire has failed to provide explanations on discrepancies noted in the results of the February 23 presidential election it announced last Wednesday.
And following the rising objection to the use of smart card reader by prospective candidates in the forthcoming governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections, the electoral body has insisted that the use of the electronic device is mandatory.
The substantive issues are discrepancies in the number of registered voters announced before and after the presidential election as well as disparities in the number of voters accredited and total votes cast at the poll.
Prior to the presidential and National Assembly elections, the INEC had revealed that the total number of registered voters was 84,004,084. But announcing the result of the election, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, put the number of registered voters at 82,344,107.
Also, in order to ensure voters were not disenfranchised, the commission adopted simultaneous accreditation and voting, which it believed, would save time and also discourage discrepancies, but this was not to be, considering what was witnessed during the exercise.
While declaring Buhari as the winner, saying he polled a total of 15,191,847 votes to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who scored 11,262,978 votes, Yakubu said 29,364,209 voters were accredited, while the total number of valid votes cast were 27,324,583 with total rejected votes of 1,289,607, putting total votes cast at 28,614,190.
This means that a total of 1.6 million people were missing in the voter register, considering the fact that the number of registered voters was over 84 million, while the number of collated voters, according to the INEC chairman, was over 82 million.
A couple of presidential candidates’ agents, particularly Chief Osita Chidoka of the PDP, made a heavy weather of these discrepancies. But Yakubu subdued the agitations with a promise to issue a clarification before the close of the collation exercise. That did not happen.