The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Saturday’s governorship election in six northern states of Plateau , Adamawa, Benue, Bauchi, Sokoto, and Kano States inconclusive and has gone ahead to order a rerun in the states.
Prof. Richard Kimbir, the Returning Officer for the election in Plateau state announced this in the early hours of Monday in Jos, after collating results from the 17 local government areas.
Kimbir, who is the Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, said the total number of votes cancelled were more than the difference in the number of votes the the two major candidates got, “hence was constrained to declare the polls inclusive”.
The returning officer said Mr Simon Lalong of the All Progressive Congress (APC) scored 583, 255 votes, while his closest rival, Lt. Gen. Jeremiah Useni (rtd) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) garnered 538, 326 votes in the election.
Kimbir who put the total number of cancelled votes in the state at 49, 347, noted that it was above the total difference of 44, 929 in the votes scored by the two major candidates.
“In line with section 179, subsection two of the 1999 constitution as amended, I am constrained to declare this election inconclusive.
“This is because the total number of cancelled votes is above the difference that exist in the votes garnered by the two major candidates.
“So, in line with the electoral act, a supplementary elections will be conducted in the affected areas in 21 days,” he declared.
Shendam, Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Bokkos and Kanam were the LGAs affected by the cancellation.
Others affected include Jos North, Langtang South, Mangu and Pankshin.
The Returning Officer .Prof. Andrew Haruna, confirmed the development at the governorship election collation centre in Yola on Monday.
Haruna said the number of cancellations was higher than the margin of lead votes between the two contestants and therefore, a new date for the rerun election would be fixed.
Haruna mentioned about 44 polling units affected across the state
Meanwhile in Sokoto state, Gov. Aminu Tambuwa, of the the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare him winner of the Saturday election. Tambuwal made the call in a special broadcast on Monday in Sokoto, noting that Section 179(2) of the Constitutional and INEC guidelines were explicit on governorship elections.
INEC on Sunday declared the March 9 governorship election in Sokoto state inconclusive.
The State Returning Officer said the decision was because the 75, 403 cancelled votes in 136 polling units was higher than the 3, 413 margin difference between Tambuwal’s score and that of the APC candidate.
Prof. Fatima Muktar, Vice Chancellor, Federal University Dutse (FUD), Jigawa, had declared that Tambuwal polled 489, 558 votes while his closest rival, Alhaji Ahmad Aliyu of the APC scored 486, 145 votes.
But Tambuwal said that at present, INEC had not communicated the reasons for cancellation of votes in the 136 polling units.
According to the governor, the question of margin difference is alien to the Nigerian constitution as the law requires majority of votes and 25 per cent of votes cast in two-third majority of states of the federation.
“This technical reason of margin differences has not been applied in Osun and Ekiti elections,” Tambuwal said.
He said he obtained a higher number of votes at the concluded election and averred to test the margin principle legally when the “needful had not been done.”
“We are ready to participate in the proposed re-run election and also challenge the decision at the court if the needful is not done.
“We expect INEC to come out boldly and do the needful by declaring the winner.
“I believe that we won the election. INEC and its officials have names to protect by doing the right thing at the right time,” the governor added.
Tambuwal however commended security agencies and other participating organs at the election for their commitment that ensured successful and peaceful conduct of the election.
He also commended PDP supporters in Sokoto state for coming out en mass to vote for him and urged them to repeat same when the re-run came up.
Again, (INEC) in Kano suspended the collation of results for the Saturday’s Governorship election.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Riskuwa Arab-Shehu announced this after the collation of results from the 43 out of the 44 Local Government Areas of the state.
The INEC Commissioner said the suspension was necessary because of reports of the security challenges from the only local government left to be announced in the governorship elections results.
The State’s Deputy Governor, Alhaji Nasir Gawuna, and the Commissioner of Local Governments, Murtala Sule-Garo were arrested for allegedly trying to disrupt the collation of the election results.
The Chairman of Nasarawa Local Government, Alhaji Lamin Sani was also arrested by the police.
According to the REC, the results were snatched away from the collation centre, and that the electoral body will refer to its primary and secondary data base to generate the result from the polling units and wards.
Arab-Shehu explained that INEC will generate the result, verify and consider those that are acceptable within the electoral law.
He added that party agents would be invited for the verification of the results to ensure transparency during the regeneration of the results.