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Inconclusive elections: INEC fixes March 23 for supplementary poll in six states

…Lists reasons for inconclusive polls in Adamawa, Kano, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau, Sokoto

…Declares Gov. Ishaku winner of gov’ship election in Taraba

Tunde Opalana, Abuja and Okerafor Athanatius, Jalingo

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed March 23 date for the conduct of supplementary governorship elections in six states of Adamawa, Kano, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau and Sokoto.

Recall that the Commission had declined the declaration of results in those states in last Saturday’s gubernatorial and State Assembly elections.

According to INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voters Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye, the Commission took the decision on Tuesday after a review of the conduct of the 29 Governorship and 991 State constituency elections held on 9th March 2019.

He said: “The Commission declared winners in the Governorship elections in 22 states while the Returning Officers in Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto states declared the Governorship elections inconclusive.

“Consequently, the Commission will conduct supplementary elections on Saturday 23rd March 2019 to conclude the process.

“Supplementary elections will also hold in polling units in all states where State Assembly elections were declared inconclusive and winners could not be declared.

“The elections were declared inconclusive for a combination of reasons, mainly the discontinuation of use of the Smart Card Readers midway into the elections or the failure to deploy them, over-voting and widespread disruption in many polling units.

“In compliance with the Margin of Lead Principle derived from Sections 26 and 53 of the Electoral Act (as amended) and paragraph 41(e) and 43(b) of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of elections, the outcome of these elections could not be determined without conducting polls in the affected polling units.

Hence, the Commission’s decision to conduct supplementary elections in line with this principle.

“Furthermore, the Commission has considered a Report submitted by the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Bauchi State on the disruption of the collation at the Tafawa Balewa LGA collation centre which led to the cancellation of results for the entire local government.

The Commission found that there are issues that need further investigation and has set up a team led by a National Commissioner to resolve them”.

The Daily Times recalls that apart from Plateau, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was leading in all the states where the election was declared inconclusive.

Meanwhile, the Taraba State Governor and Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the just concluded 2019 governorship poll, Darius Dickson Ishaku, has won the Saturday’s Governorship Election in the state.

The Returning Officer, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Shehu Iya of Moddibo Adamawa University of Technology, Yola, while making the declaration in the early hours of Tuesday said Darius Ishaku of PDP scored a total number of 520,433 votes to emerge winner of the election.

Prof. Iya noted that Ishaku defeated his closest rival, Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who polled 362,735 votes.

According to the Returning Officer, Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan of the United Democratic Party (UDP) and former Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, emerged as the second runners up by scoring a total number of 16, 289 votes.

Answering questions from journalists shortly, the Governor-elect, Darius Ishaku described his victory as an act of God.

He, however, thanked the people of the state for massively coming out to renew his mandate with them.

He also thanked INEC for free, fair and credible conduct of the entire electoral process.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank all the Security Agencies, the Police, Civil Defence, the Media and all those who contributed to the peaceful conduct of the election”, he said.

One of our correspondents gathered that PDP won elections in twelve out the sixteen Local Government Areas of the state, while APC won only four.

“Since the emergence of democratic governance in 1999, Taraba State has been a PDP State”, a source said.