BBC investigation yesterday indicated that it had found evidence suggesting some results from Nigeria’s February 25 presidential election were manipulated, with significant anomalies in Rivers state, a key battleground during the poll.
The BBC stated that from its investigation into the issue, Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), won the election in that state, rather than the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, contrary to claims by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, that he worked for the victory of the former Lagos governor.
Stressing that though not sufficient to change the overall national outcome of the election, the international broadcast organisation noted that there are also questions over the identity of an election official who read out some of the unexplained results.
For the first time in a Nigerian election, BBC recalled that photographs of the polling station results sheets were published online by the electoral commission, which made it possible to add up all the polling station sheets and to compare them with the results declared at the state level.
But after adding up the voting tally sheets from over 6,000 polling stations in Rivers state, where many of the opposition complaints had been made, BBC stated that while the official result in the state gave a clear majority to Tinubu of APC, its tally suggested that Obi of LP had actually received most votes in the state by a wide margin.
“We found an increase of just over 106,000 in Mr Tinubu’s vote in the official declaration when compared with our polling station tally – almost doubling his total in the state. In contrast, Mr Obi’s vote had fallen by over 50,000,” the report added.
Another 17 per cent, BBC said that there were no results at all. “Many of these would have been places where no voting took place due to security issues or the non-arrival of voting materials. Others had technical problems preventing officials uploading the documents,” it posited.
The count for Mr Obi was announced officially as just 3,829 votes, but the BBC counted 74,033 votes for him on the tally sheets,” it said.