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Feb. 25 Presidential poll not perfect – Femi Adesina

Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, has said that there were irregularities in the just-concluded Saturday Presidential elections.

Adesina disclosed this in an article titled, ‘FOR PMB, IT’S NIGERIA AND NOTHING ELSE’ shared on his official Facebook page, on Thursday.

Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as the winner of the February 25 presidential election and subsequently the president-elect.

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The former Lagos governor won with 8,794,726 votes, nearly two million more votes than his fiercest challengers, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 6,984,520 and Labour Party (LP)’s Peter Obi, who got 6,101,533.

The total votes cast were 24,965,218, out of which 939,278 were rejected votes.

However, PDP and LP had called for the cancellation of the presidential election over allegations that INEC did not comply with the law in the collation and announcement of results.

The PDP and LP first made their positions known at a Tuesday press conference attended by their vice-presidential candidates, Ifeanyi Okowa and Datti Baba-Ahmed, respectively.

“The election was a sham, and never free and fair,” said Okowa of the PDP, a position corroborated by the LP’s vice-presidential candidate.

Their main grouse is that INEC failed to upload the results of elections in the over 170,000 polling units onto a central server (IReV) as required by law.

That step should have been done before the collation and announcement of results, they said.

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In his article, Adesina admitted irregularities in the electioneering process but said his principal, President Buhari was never part of any ‘mago-mago’

He said, “The first phase of the 2023 elections has been held, to elect a new President, and National Assembly members. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been declared the winner and issued a Certificate of Return. Was it a perfect election? Not so. Electronic transmission of results failed, due to technical glitches, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had to resort to manual collation.

“Joseph Stalin, the Soviet Union tyrant had been credited with saying: ‘Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.’ But one thing is definite about President Buhari. He would never be part of any mago-mago or wuruwuru. Just give him unimpeachable evidence of underhand dealings, and he throws you away like a bad habit.

“The President’s first loyalty is to the country. Unflinching. Unassailable. Despite being a loyal party man, and committed to the candidate of his party, whom he went round the country campaigning for, he told Nigerians several times: vote for the candidate of your choice across the parties. That’s the heart of a father, a man beyond partisan considerations, as a democratically elected President.

“To prove cynics and sceptics wrong, the man displayed his ballot paper last Saturday, after voting for APC candidates. Some lawyers have criticized the action, saying it runs contrary to electoral laws. But we know why the President did it. To shut the mouths of conspiracy theorists, who had been trying to establish that he was against the candidate of his party.

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“There are contentions about the declared results. Yes, it is part of good electoral practices that those who have issues should be listened to.

“Even the President himself challenged election results up to Supreme Court three times. When he was ruled out the third time, he said “God dey.” And God eventually showed up. The Almighty is still at work in Nigeria.

“President Buhari has provided a level playing field for all contestants in the election. Any other contrary thing was not at his instance or instigation. Couldn’t have been. He remains the authentic Nigerian hero, a stickler for integrity, accountability and rectitude.”