Those who claim to have won the election are particularly scared stiff of Atiku’s reference to the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Here, the PDP and its candidate draw attention to the fact that the results of the election were transmitted electronically to the commission’s server. According to Atiku, the authentic results as captured by the server showed that he defeated the candidate of the APC, Muhammadu Buhari, with over 1.6 million votes. To prove his point, Atiku wants the commission to tender before the election petition tribunal the results it had in its server before it decided to wipe them off. This is Atiku’s demand. That is one of the reliefs that he is seeking in court.
This demand by Atiku, if truth must be told, is very much in order. It should be one of the easiest things that INEC should do in order to save the matter in court from unnecessary rigmarole. But there is an interesting twist to it all. INEC is claiming that its server is empty. But Atiku has offered to help. He wants to bring Microsoft, IBM and Oracle, the companies that gave the platform to INEC, to come and testify. Again, this is simple enough and should be upheld.
However, panic and the desperation to conceal facts will not allow those who manipulated the results to do what is right and desirable. Rather than focus attention on the merits of Atiku’s disputation, they have decided to beat about the bush by telling us that the 2010 Electoral Act ( as amended ) did not make provision for electronic transmission of results. But we already know this. And Atiku knows it too. But those who argue that Atiku should not rely on electronically transmitted results because the electoral law did not provide for that miss the point. By his demand, Atiku is not saying that INEC is under compulsion to transmit results electronically. He is only saying that the commission made its job in that election a little bit easier and tidier by its directive for results to be transmitted electronically from all polling booths nationwide to its central server in Abuja. The commission actually did that and that is why Atiku is seeking proof of his victory by relying on a document whose authenticity cannot be in doubt. There is clearly nothing wrong with this course of action.
Atiku’s reliance on INEC’s server is supported by the the declarations which the commission made before and after the elections. Before the election, the chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu told Nigerians that results would be transmitted electronically to the server in order to ensure transparency and authenticity. Mahmoud’s declaration was his own way of allaying the fears of Nigerians who were unhappy that President Buhari did not sign into law the electoral amendment bill which provides for electronic transmission of results. In line with Mahmoud’s assurances, INEC transmitted the results to the server. This fact was corroborated by Mike Igini, one of the commission’s national commissioners who affirmed after the election that the commission transmitted results to its server electronically. This being the case, the fact before us is not whether the law provides for electronic transmission of results but the fact that it was done by INEC to aid it in ensuring that the results can easily be authenticated. We are in that process of authentication and that is why Atiku had to rely on the results captured by the server.
Regrettably, those who do not want the will of the people to prevail have infiltrated INEC. They do not want the commission to do its job. That was why it had to engage in the somersault of declaring that its server is empty. But unfortunately for it and its backers, the results were already captured before they were deleted. INEC is therefore under obligation to submit its server for verification. Those who have nothing to hide have no reason to be afraid of this innocuous exercise.
It is unconscionable that our politics has become a pastime for dubious elements who do not want the right thing to be done. That is why some people have become jittery over the purpose that the server served. Because they want the stolen mandate to be treated as something legitimately acquired, they do not want the right questions to be asked. Instead of appreciating the merit of the matter, they are telling us that the electoral act did not make provision for electronic transmission of results. They conveniently forget that by advancing such an argument, they are not addressing the issue.
They commit the ad hominem fallacy and still grandstand over the lack of logic in their submission. One of Atiku’s traducers was even so hollow in his argument to the point that he had to tell us that the law allows only proof by hard copies. Really? Who told this uninformed fellow this? There is really no extent to which greed cannot drive people. This is unenlightened self interest at its most banal.
But we will not allow these rascals to get away with blue murder. Those who turn reality upside down will not be allowed to pool the wool over our eyes. We know what happened to the presidential elections of 2019. There was rape of democracy. The will of the people was brazenly subverted. Fortunately, we still have our courts as the last hope of the people.
As a law-abiding citizen, Atiku has approached the courts in search of justice. I believe that the courts know what to do. Our judges will not sell their conscience for a mess of pottage. Nigerians are looking up to them to save the situation. Those who think that they will ambush the judiciary to condone electoral robbery are living in a fool’s paradise. It will not work.
Rather than celebrate their biases and illogic in the public sphere, those who are accomplices in the 2019 electoral robbery should give our courts a chance. They should stop behaving as if the last word has been heard on the 2019 presidential election. The truth of the matter is that truth cannot be buried for ever. Atiku’s victory in the election under reference will soon become an undeniable fact of our political history. Those who have been thrown into panic had better brace up for the inevitable. Atiku is coming.
Erahodu Oseghale writes from Benin City