The Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday continued its declaration of results of the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections conducted across the country on Saturday.
But for the first time since 1999 that the nation embraced democracy, INEC declared governorship poll in six states inconclusive. The states affected are Kano, Sokoto, Benue, Bauchi, Adamawa and Plateau.
While INEC has stopped the announcement of results in Rivers State due to the violence that engulfed the state, the commission has also controversially halted the announcement of the governorship election in Kano State which shows the Peoples Democratic Party is leading.
Consequently, the PDP has accused the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, of allegedly playing the script of the ruling All Progressives Congress by declaring governorship elections in these states inconclusive.
It claimed that the commission carried out the action in states where it (the PDP) was in clear lead.
The former ruling party insisted that INEC had become overtly partisan, surrendered its independence to the APC and carried on as “a compromised umpire with obnoxious impunity, thereby sending signals of being heavily bribed by the APC to alter results for its candidates.”
INEC chair playing APC script over inconclusive elections – PDP
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, who spoke at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday, insisted that the party was in possession of intelligence reports that INEC was being remotely controlled by the Presidency.
He said this was why the commission had refused to declare the full outcome of the governorship elections in some states.
He said, “The PDP has full intelligence of how INEC is acting on instructions from the Buhari Presidency and the APC in orchestrating unwholesome situations and declaring already concluded governorship elections in Sokoto, Adamawa, Bauchi, Plateau as well as other states as inconclusive, immediately it became obvious that the PDP was set to win.
“This also informs the foisting of unexplainable stoppage and delays in the announcement of already collated results in other states where the PDP is clearly leading the race, from the results so far declared at the polling units.
“Our party has also been informed of how INEC is now seeking ways to use the situation to aid the APC to alter the results and announce the APC candidates as winners in the elections clearly led by the PDP just as it did in the 2018 Osun State governorship election.
“In some of the states like Rivers, the PDP has information of plots by the APC to leverage the declaration by INEC to unleash more violence on the state and push for isolated election where they can bring in more security forces to concentrate on forcefully taking over the state.
“Already, in Rivers State, INEC is under heavy pressure from the Director General of the Buhari Campaign Organisation and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to redeploy and replace the state Resident Electoral Commissioner as well as the Administrative Secretary.
“This will be totally unacceptable, completely provocative and shall be firmly resisted by the people even if the totality of our nation’s security is deployed to Rivers State.”
Ologbondiyan said that results of all the state assembly elections in Rivers State had been declared and winners had emerged.
He cautioned Yakubu and the commission to perish the thought of altering any figures for the APC and to immediately announce the results in these states and others where he claimed the PDP candidates clearly won, going by the results already declared at the poling units, wards and local government collation centres.
He said that anything short of this would attract the “legitimate wrath of the people.”
Ologbondiyan also said that Nigerians were already aware that elections had been concluded in the affected states; results collated and declared at the polling units, wards and local government collation centres and all returning officers and “political parties conclusively have the figures.”
He said, “Prof. Yakubu must have noted how his name is becoming synonymous with electoral manipulations, among Nigerians, and the fact that our citizens and international community hold him responsible for the rigging of the presidential and other elections for the APC.
“Today, majority of Nigerians and the global democratic institutions are questioning the state of our democracy and electoral processes, which have been under siege under the supervision of President Buhari and Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
“In the light of these INEC’s manipulative tendencies, the PDP therefore charges our leaders, teeming members and lovers of democracy in the affected states to immediately commence a march to INEC offices and use all legitimate means to protect our mandate as freely given by the people at the polling units across the nation.”
Supplementary poll to hold in nine Plateau LGAs, 20 polling units
In spite of the PDP’s protest, INEC had while declaring the Plateau State governorship poll inconclusive on Monday, said a supplementary election would hold in nine LGAs and 20 polling units in the state.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the State, Mr Halilu Pai, who spoke through the Head of Voter Education, Mr Osaretin Imahiyereobo, told The PUNCH in Jos on Monday that the state INEC had sent the report of the inconclusive election to the INEC headquarters in Abuja. He added that INEC headquarters would determine the date when the supplementary governorship poll would hold.
Our correspondents reported that during the governorship poll, the APC candidate, Simon Lalong, led with 583,255 votes in 11 local government areas, while the PDP candidate, Jeremiah Useni, got 538,326.
Given the 44,929 margin of lead and the total number of cancelled votes at 49,377, the Returning Officer in Plateau State, Prof. Richard Kimbir, who announced the results at the state INEC headquarters around 3am on Monday, stated that the election was inconclusive.
The total number of registered voters was put at 2,480,455, while the number of accredited voters was 1,147,025.
The total number of valid votes was 1,138,987 with 16,691 rejected votes, resulting in 1,154,678 total votes cast.
Bauchi rerun: PDP says ‘we are ready’ as APC calls for probe
In Bauchi State, the Returning Officer, Prof. Mohammed Kyari, declared that the election in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of the state was inconclusive.
According to him, the PDP candidate, Senator Bala Mohammed, got 469,512 votes against his closest rival, the incumbent Governor Mohammed Abubabakar of the APC, who got 465,453 votes.
He had said that the margin of lead between the the two candidates was 4,059 votes after cancelling the votes of Tafawa Balewa LGA which had 139,240 accredited voters.
Kyari added that the number of cancelled votes in the elections even without that of Tafawa Balewa LGA was 45,312 and therefore declared that based on Section 26 part 53 of the Electoral Act the governorship election in the state was inconclusive.
He also directed INEC to conduct a re-run election in the affected LGA within the next 21 days.
But speaking at a Press Conference at the NUJ Secretariat, Bauchi on Monday, the PDP Chairman, Hamza Akuyam, said the decision to declare the election inconclusive had confirmed the party’s earlier claims that the APC was planning to rig the election.
Akuyam, who was in company with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, the DG Campaign of the party, senators Abdul Ningi, Nazif Gamawa and Isa Misau and the PDP bigwigs in Bauchi State, called for the immediate redeployment of the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Ibrahim Abdullahi, and the Commissioner of Police, Ali Janga.
But the APC in Bauchi State on Monday called on security agencies to probe the allegation by the Returning Officer in Tafawa Balewa LGA, Mrs Dominion Anosike, that she declared the result under duress.
The party demanded that after the investigation “whosoever is found guilty should face the wrath of the law.”
The APC also accused the PDP of “unnecessarily crying foul” over the declaration of the governorship election as inconclusive.
While blaming the PDP for the crisis in Tafawa Balewa LGA which led to the cancellation of the results, the party also said the opposition was responsible for INEC decision.
The APC chairman in the state, Alhaji Ahmed Nana, said, “The PDP is crying foul unnecessarily. The lady alleged that she was put under security threat and wrote the result under duress. I would like to call on the security agencies to probe it and whosoever is found guilty should face the wrath of the law.
“Which party was said to be winning the election? It was not the APC that forced the declaration of results under duress, but the PDP. If it was the APC that forced the Returning Officer in Tafawa Balewa to declare the result, then why would they make her give the higher votes to the PDP? Anybody doing that will do that for his party to win.
“So, you see, it is now obvious that it was the PDP that forced her to write the result that gave them victory in that area. The Collation Officer even said it there, nobody forced her to say that. In fact, we are the ones that are supposed to be saying that.”
On the rerun, the APC chairman expressed confidence that the ruling party would retain power in the state.
When contacted by one of our correspondents, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Kassim Gaidam, said a date for the rerun would be communicated as soon as a decision on the date was taken.
Tambuwal threatens legal action over Sokoto gov poll stalemate
Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has threatened to approach the court and challenge the inconclusiveness of the state governorship election last Saturday.
Reacting to INEC’s decision to declare the election as inconclusive where he was leading at a press conference, Tambuwal alleged that the commission had yet to give reason for its decision.
Tambuwal, who was leading with a slim margin of 3,413 votes, also explained that, “going by Section 179, sub-section 2, of the Nigerian constitution as amended, there was no clause that gave room for inconclusiveness.
“The returning officer up till now, has not told us why the re-run in each of the polling units. The Electoral Act is very clear on reasons for re-run or inconclusive poll.
“Where there is violence or malfunctioning card reader machine, what is expected is to record zero vote in such polling unit(s).”
He said, “If INEC did not do the needful, I will approach the court to test the viability of the commission’s technicality. Votes have been cast, we are clearly ahead with the highest number of votes in more than two-thirds areas of the state, therefore, INEC needs to come back and declare the result.