Guber: INEC Fixes Supplementary Polls In Six States, March 23 …Explains Inconclusive Elections …PDP Warns Against Results Alterations

African Regional Director for Africa, International Republican Institute (IRI), John Tomaszewski (left), with Senior Associate and Regional Director for Central and West Africa, National Democratic Institute (NDI), Dr Christopher Fomunyoh, during a news conference on the just concluded Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections in Abuja, last Monday.

The Independent National Electoral Commission has fixed supplementary elections in six states for Saturday, March 23, 2019.
The commission has also set up a panel led by a National Commissioner to resolve the controversies over the results of Bauchi State governorship election which was declared inconclusive.
INEC noted that governorship elections in the six states were declared inconclusive for a combination of reasons, including the discontinuation of use of the Smart Card Readers midway into the elections, failure to deploy SCRs, over-voting and widespread disruption in many polling units.
A statement issued last night by INEC National Commissioner and chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said the decision was part of the resolutions reached after an emergency meeting held in Abuja.
Okoye also said the Commission had considered a report submitted by the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Bauchi State, Ibrahim Abdullahi, on the disruption of results collation at the Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area collation centre, which led to the cancellation of results for the entire LG.
INEC, he said, found that there were issues that needed further investigation and has set up a team led by a National Commissioner to resolve them.
The statement reads: “The Commission met today (Tuesday) March 12 2019 and reviewed the conduct of the 29 governorship and 991 State constituency elections held on March 9 2019. In all, the commission declared winners in the governorship elections in 22 states.
“However, 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 March 23 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. Details of the constituencies including number of polling units and registered voters, will be published on our website on Wednesday March 13 2019.
“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 mm (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.”
Meanwhile,the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the March 9 governorship and State House of Assembly elections inconclusive in at least seven states.
They are: Plateau, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Sokoto, Kano and Rivers states.
Returning Officers for the election in Plateau and Adamawa states, made the declaration on Monday in separate announcements at their respective collation centres.
In Jos, the Plateau State capital, Professor Richard Kimbir announced that the margin of a lead of 44,929 between the APC and the PDP candidates, is less than 49,377 cancelled votes.
Simon Lalong of APC polled a total of 583,255 votes, while Jerry Useni of PDP scored 538,326.
Professor Fatima Muktar had given the same reason for her decision in Adamawa and asked those troubled to report to the electoral body.
The election was declared inconclusive in both states, following a similar development in Sokoto State.
Also in Bauchi, Prof. Mohammed Kyari, the Returning Officer, said that apart from the cancellation of the result from entire Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area because of irregularities, the exercise in some other polling units also suffered the same fate.
Late on Monday, the same verdict was passed in Benue state, where a date for the rerun is expected announced within 21 days.
Just yesterday, INEC suspended all electoral processes in Rivers state until further notice.
In a statement, the commission explained that they took the decision, due to widespread violence in the state during the March 9 governorship and State Assembly polls.
The commission also claimed some of its staff were held hostage and materials including results sheets were destroyed.
The elections in Kano have also been adjudged inconclusive. The electoral body suspended the collation of the results, due to security challenges at the Nasarawa Local Government collation center.
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) accuses the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, of overtly playing the script of the Muhammadu Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) by declaring governorship elections in states where the PDP is in clear lead as inconclusive.
A statement signed by National Publicity Secretary and Director, Media & Publicity, Kola Ologbondiyan, said “The party insists that INEC, under Yakubu, has become overtly partisan, surrendered its independence to the APC and carries on as a compromised umpire with obnoxious impunity, thereby sending signals of being heavily bribed by the APC to alter results for its candidates.
“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 becomes 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 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 APC to leverage on the declaration by INEC to unleash more violence in 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 Organization and Minister of Transport, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, to post out and replace the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) 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.
“This is more so as results of all the state assembly elections in Rivers State have been declared and winners had emerged.
“The PDP cautions Yakubu and his INEC to perish the thoughts of altering any figures for the APC and to immediately announce our winning results in these states and others where our candidates clearly won, going by the results already declared at the poling units, wards and local government collation. Anything short of this will attract the legitimate wrath of the people.
“This is because Nigerians are already aware that elections have been concluded in these states; results have been collated and declared at the polling units, ward and local government collation centres and all returning officers and political parties conclusively have the figures.
“Yakubu must have noted how his name is becoming synonymous to 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, 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,” the statement added.