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Supplementary elections: Buhari won’t change result – Presidency

…Lampoons opposition leaders for incitement .Urges APC members in affected states to work hard to earn their people’s votes

APC, PDP disagree over INEC’s position on Bauchi poll results

Mathew Dadiya, Tom Okpe, Abuja & Samuel Luka, Bauchi

The Presidency has assured that President Muhammadu Buhari would not tamper with the outcomes of supplementary elections holding this week, saying that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is fully in charge.

The Presidency also cautioned against the “hate spewing, incitement to violence and the polarising statements by so-called political leaders “as a number of states brace up for supplementary elections prescribed by the National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Sunday, stated that the Presidency “rejects unfair and ridiculous criticisms of President Buhari’s apparent disinterest in the upcoming elections in some states by party members who wrongfully assume that the President will abuse power by changing results to favour them.”

According to the Presidency, past Presidents of Nigeria were known to interfere in inconclusive elections, and that is why party members appear to be upset that the same thing is not happening now, but President Buhari is a different kind of leader.

Shehu stated that President Buhari swore to defend the constitution and will not veer off from that.

“The constitution of Nigeria gives the President no such powers. It is unfair and ridiculous to criticise President Buhari for not going against the constitution.

“Party members in states where there will be supplementary elections then need to be reminded that they need to work hard to earn their people’s votes, rather than expect President Buhari to manipulate INEC in their favour.

“Interestingly, while members of the ruling APC party were criticising the President for not interfering on their behalf, members of the opposition were condemning the President based on their assumptions that he would definitely interfere, as many in the opposition did while in power.

“Under President Buhari, INEC had been and will be completely independent throughout the elections, free from any interference.

President Buhari is a man of conviction, and the manipulation of election results goes against everything he stands for INEC is completely in charge,” the Presidency added.

Meanwhile, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Yekini Nabena, has said that his party rejected in entirety the position taken by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) regarding the governorship inconclusive election in Bauchi State, accusing the Festus Okoye-led committee of evil plot against the ruling party.

The electoral body had earlier declared the governorship election inconclusive and set a date for rerun but suddenly changed the decision based on the reports submitted by a committee headed by Festus Okoye to investigate the issue.

Speaking with newsmen on Sunday in Abuja, APC’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, said his party has rejected the decision taken by the INEC on the governorship election results from Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State.

Nabena said the position taken by INEC contravened the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.

“Considering the letters and spirit of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999 as amended), and the INEC Guidelines for 2019 General Elections, INEC is not empowered to reverse any decision taken at the Collation Centre by the Returning Officer appointed for that purpose.

“Such decisions can only be reversed by a Court of law, especially when INEC cannot approbate and reprobate, “the party stated.

The party also accused the Festus Okoye-led committee of denying it fair hearing as its agent were not invited during the hearing to ascertain the circumstances leading to the cancellation of the Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area election result.

“The composition of the committee is also questionable as the Committee chairman, Festus Okoye Esq, is a close ally of and ex-personal Solicitor of Hon. Yakubu Dogara of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“No justice can be done by the committee chairman who is interested in the whole issues and the instant circumstances,” he said.

The Bauchi State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has however expressed confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the directive to resume collation of cancelled votes in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of the state.

Alhaji Hamza Koshe Akuyam, who is the state Chairman of the party in Bauchi, told journalists that the step taken by the National Headquarters of Electoral Commission to look into the issues surrounding the electoral process in the state has been set right by the Committee that was sent to investigate the matter.

“We raised an alarm over the issue of the hiked cancelled votes in Ningi local council which was initially put at 25,330 but was actually 2,533, they have upheld that.

Also, we cried out that the Tafawa Balewa local government shouldn’t be cancelled because there was no violence or destruction at the pulling units to justify that and they have ordered resumption of collation on that. We believe in INEC,” the PDP Chairman said.

Akuyam, who called on the Peoples Democratic Party supporters to remain calm and let peace reign, expressed optimism that his party will emerge victorious with or without re-run election in Bauchi State.

He however, called for the redeployment of the Bauchi State Commissioner of Police, Ali Janga and DSS boss for been biased during the elections.