Did INEC Threaten to Award Presidential Election Victory to Atiku?

Verdict: FALSE

The Claim:

CDD has spotted a story claiming that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has threatened to award the election victory to the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2019 presidential elections. The claim was made on April 9, 2019, by the dailyadvent. It says that PDP and their presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who is challenging the outcome of the presidential elections, have filed an election petition and that President Muhammadu Buhari, has till April 16, 2019, to respond to the petition. And that the court of Appeal has issued out a last warning to INEC and APC that they have till Thursday to file their responses to the election petition.

The Facts:

CDD fact-checkers investigated the story and discovered that the story is copied from punchng.com and uses a sensationalist headline to imply a different meaning. The blog report attributed their claim to an anonymous source, alleging that Buhari, INEC, and APC were yet to respond to the petition. Whereas, the Punch attributed a similar demand in their report to a valid source who informed its reporter that the party would respond to the petition before the 21 days deadline.

Also, the law is clear on how the election result declared by INEC can be invalidated. Only a court of competent jurisdiction can renounce a candidate’s victory and announce another as the victor once INEC has issued the certificate of return by INEC. Meanwhile, neither has the Presidential Election Tribunal given any judgement on the petition filed by PDP and its candidate nor did INEC declare any presidential election result different from the one earlier declared that saw Muhammadu Buhari of the APC won his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar of PDP,  with a margin of 2.9 million votes.

Conclusion:

The law is clear on how electoral outcome can be invalidated, Only a court of competent jurisdiction can renounce a candidate’s victory and announce another as the victor once INEC has issued the certificate of return. The 2-month old blog, dailyadvent, lacks credibility and should in no way be taken seriously.