It also praised the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, for challenging the outcome of the February 23 presidential election in the court. The Independent National Electoral Commission has slated March 9 for supplementary elections in places where the presidential/National Assembly elections did not take place and where returns could not be made. It said the elections would be conducted alongside the governorship, state Houses of Assembly and the Federal Capital Territory Area council elections on Saturday. But in a statement, the CLGG advised the PDP to boycott the supplementary polls. The Lagos-based group’s coordinator, Mr Joe Nwokedi, said the presidential election raised some questions, as there were irregularities in the figures announced by the Returning Officers of INEC. He said, among other issues, there was “blatant” disregard for INEC’s directive that card readers should be exclusively used during the election. He said, “While the directive was adhered to in some parts of the country, predominantly in southern Nigeria, it was jettisoned in other parts of Nigeria, especially in the North, where manual voting was freely allowed, contrary to the directive by INEC. “There were also various incidences of cancellation of votes by the INEC Returning Officers without cogent and convincing explanations given for doing so. “The issue of militarisation of the voting exercise has also raised pertinent issues of law, because there was a judgment of court of competent jurisdiction in 2014, stating that military should not be used for elections in Nigeria and same judgment has not been overturned by any court in Nigeria.” Stating the reason the PDP should boycott the supplementary elections, Nwokedi said there were places where INEC promised to conduct supplementary elections before the collation of results and final announcement of the result. He said, “But INEC could not wait till the conduct of these supplementary elections before the final results of the elections were announced, and eventual declaration of the winner. “Why was INEC so much in a hurry to declare a winner and issue Certificate of Return in an election that has not been concluded in order to properly and legitimately declare the winner of the election and issue Certificate of Return?” The lawyer said the supplementary election ought to have been conducted before the declaration of the winner of the presidential election. “This issue should also be addressed by the court,” he said. He added, “It will be the duty of the court to determine whether the gross irregularities, violations and deprivations witnessed during the presidential election are grave enough to warrant the cancellation of the election.”]]>

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