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.
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.
“The trend from Bauchi, Sokoto, Plateau and Adamawa states is worrisome. The PDP has won the election in Sokoto and INEC should do the needful.”
Tambuwal, however, remarked that challenging INEC decision in court did not mean the party would boycott the re-run.
Supplementary poll to hold in 44 polling units in Adamawa
INEC Returning Officer in Adamawa State, Prof. Andrew Haruna, while declaring the results inconclusive around 3am on Monday, explained that a rerun was necessary because the number of votes cancelled was more than the victory margin recorded.
According to him, a total of 1,973,083 voters registered for the election while 894,481 voters were accredited for voting.
He said after the Saturday election, 40,988 votes were cancelled in 44 polling units across the state, which were more than the margin recorded between the winner and the runner-up.
The PDP candidate, Ahmadu Fintiri, led the Saturday’s election with 32,476 votes after polling 367,471 ahead of the APC candidate, Jibrilla Bindow, who scored 334,995 votes. Bindow is seeking re-election.
In an exclusive interview with one of our correspondents, the state PDP Chairman, Tahir Shehu, described INEC’s decision as unfortunate.
He added, “It is however fortunate for us because there is no magic that will make the APC score above the lead we have established. The areas where elections were cancelled are PDP strongholds and we established this during the presidential election. We are leading with 32,476 votes and the total votes we are fighting for in the rerun are 40,998 votes. We are still highly hopeful of winning.”
In Madagali, rerun will take place in three polling units while in Michika, the exercise will take place in five polling units.
At Mubi North area of the state, rerun will also take place in three polling units while Hong, Song and Demsa have four polling units each where rerun will take place.
Other areas affected are Toungo with three polling units, Numan with six units and Lamurde, Guyuk with three polling units each.
With 11,016 votes, Michika has the highest number of votes to be contested while Numan has the second highest number with 5,014 votes.
Mubi North, which is one of the strongholds of the APC candidate, has 1,978 votes to be contested. In the result earlier declared, Bindow of the APC scored 31,794 votes in Mubi North to beat the PDP candidate who scored 16,667 while in Michika, the PDP candidate scored 24,504 against Bindow’s 13,224.
APC, PDP disagree over poll cancellation in Benue
INEC on Monday declared the Benue State governorship election held on Saturday inconclusive.
The Benue State Collation/Returning Officer, Prof. Sabastine Maimaiko, during the collation and announcement of the results in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, said the candidate of the PDP, Samuel Ortom, polled 410,576 votes while his closest rival, the APC candidate, Emmanuel Jime, scored 329,022 votes.
He stated that Ortom led Jime with 81,554 votes. He, however, said that total number of registered voters/areas where elections were not held or cancelled and properly documented on Form EC40G, was 121,019.
He clarified that the margin of lead (81,554 votes) was less than 121, 019 registered voters/areas where elections were not held or cancelled.
Maimaiko said, “Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, on the basis of the statistics just read out, I therefore declare this election inconclusive. INEC will conduct a supplementary election for this purpose.”
But the PDP agent, Alex Adum, opposed the declaration of the election inconclusive, saying the reason and statistics given by the Collation Officer were not appropriate by law.
He also enunciated some statistics to validate his assertion.
However, the APC state agent, Joe Abaegu, hailed the collation officer for declaring the election inconclusive, adding that his position was final.
Also the Benue State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Nentawe Goshwe, countered the statistics provided by Adum, insisting that the collation officer was right in his declaration of the election inconclusive.
Inconclusive poll: Anti-democratic forces at work, says Atiku
Meanwhile, the Presidential candidate of the PDP in the last elections, Atiku Abubakar, says anti-democratic forces are at work.
He, therefore, called on INEC to act in defence of democracy.
Atiku said this amid controversies in six states of the federation.
In a Twitter post, however, Atiku said, “Anti-democratic forces are at work. My counsel to INEC is as follows: Conclude on the side of democracy. Conclude on the side of the people. Conclude on the side of the constitution. Conclude on the side of Nigeria.”
APC wins Zamfara, Kaduna, Borno, PDP sweeps Delta, Cross River
Meanwhile, in the governorship poll results declared on Monday by INEC, the APC won in Zamfara, Kaduna and Borno states while the PDP clinched the Delta and Cross River states governorship polls.
In Zamfara, Muktar Idris of the APC secured 534,541 votes to defeat Bello Matawalle of the PDP, who scored 189,452 votes out of the 810,782 votes cast across the 14 LGAs in the state.
Announcing the result, the Returning Officer, Prof. Kabir Bala, said the state had 1,717,128 registered voters, of which 823,294 were accredited during the election.
Also, the APC candidate in Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum, swept aside 31 other contestants by scoring 1,175,440 votes to beat his closest opponent, Alhaji Mohammed Imam of the PDP, who garnered 66,115 votes.
Declaring Zulum the governor-elect, Prof. Alhassan Mohammed Gali, who is the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University Kasheri, Gombe State, and the returning officer of Borno Governorship Election, said 2,316, 218 were registered voters with 1,292,138 accredited to vote.
He said 1,266,967 were total valid votes, with 22,060 votes rejected out of 1,289,027 total votes cast.
Declaring Prof. Zulum the governor-elect of Borno State, Gali said the APC candidate had satisfied the requirements of scoring the highest number of votes.
Also, the Governor of Kaduna State, who is also the candidate of the APC, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has been declared the winner.
The Vice-Chancellor, Bayero University, Kano, Prof. Mohammed Bello, who is the returning officer, said El-Rufai polled 1,045,427 to defeat his closest rival who is the PDP candidate, Isa Ashiru, who scored 814,168.
But in Delta State the PDP candidate, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, was declared winner by the Presiding Officer and Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Prof. Seth Accra Jaja, on Monday afternoon.
The PDP candidate won in 23 out of the 25 LGAs of the state to secure a second term in office.
From the LGA results announced by Jaja, Okowa polled a total of 925,274 votes to defeat his closest rival of the APC, Chief Great Ogboru, who polled 215,938 votes.
The incumbent governor defeated his APC counterpart by a margin of 708,336 votes.
Announcing the results, Jaja described the election as keenly contested with 2,831,205 registered voters, 1,188,784 accredited voters, and 1,1783,351 votes.
But the APC state agent, Prof. Festus Arunayi, rejected the results over what he described as over-voting and violence across the polling units.
Ogboru and his party, the APC, also rejected the results, adding that the exercise was a sham that did not reflect what transpired at the polling units.
The state APC Chairman, Prophet Jones Erue, described the results released by INEC as “cooked up,” alleging that there were widespread irregularities across the state.Erue, therefore, called for the cancellation of the exercise.