A prominent member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has disclosed that the verdict delivered by the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) was strategically manipulated, as reported by DailySun.
According to him, the tribunal ruling will give rise to worse cases of electoral fraud ahead of the upcoming elections in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa.
The party leader who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Daily Sun that the judgement averted an unimaginable impending implosion in the party.
He explained that an unfavourable judgement would have widened the cracks already present in the party.
He admitted that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not live up to the expectations of Nigerians but stated that it would have been terrible for the APC if the Tribunal refused to confirm the result of the commission because of the anger of the citizenry.
Speaking further, he stated that the tribunal verdict also goes a long way in showing that the APC has a higher chance of winning the elections in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa States.
The leader said: “Yes, we still have the option of heading to the Supreme Court to remedy whatever judgment if it had gone against our candidate. But, it would have sent a wrong and negative signal that might further widen the cracks in our party.
“Struggling to manage one crisis after the other ever since we won the election, any judgment on the contrary would have amplified the tension in our party. We all know that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not live up to the expectations of many Nigerians but for the presidential tribunal to confirm the anger of Nigerians in refusing to endorse the result by the commission would have affected our party negatively.
“You may not know what the favourable judgment did to our party ahead of the three off-season governorship elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo states. It goes a long way to confirm that our chances of winning the states are still very bright. No matter the angle you look at it, many would interpret the judgment as an endorsement of rigging and a signal to the governors that election manipulation is still possible despite the much-touted deployment of technology.
“The tribunal has also endorsed that the much-acclaimed reliance on Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Result Viewing (IreV) Portal are of no consequence and that it can be circumvented despite the huge amount of money spent on the technology and the promises the commission repeatedly made to Nigerians.
“Be sure that we are going to see worst cases of electoral fraud during the off-season governorship elections. Just watch out for the dimension the manipulations of the governorship elections will take because the tribunal verdict has emboldened them.
“The verdict was a tactically manipulated legal exercise but since my party is the beneficiary I can only talk in secret for security reasons and fear of victimisation.”