Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has urged the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, who is his kinsman, to intervene in the electoral logjam in Bauchi State.
Dogara said INEC’s decision to cancel the Tafawa Balewa Local Government governorship election results lacks substance and is clear departure from the provision of the law.
The speaker said this during a media briefing in Bauchi, yesterday.
Dogara said it was absurd that the electoral body would cancel the results of an election that was “conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner.”
He added that, save for the issue of computation of the final results which was caused by the “carting away of the result sheet by agents of the sitting governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, who is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the exercise was smooth.
“There was no problem at all in Tafawa Balewa. The only problem they had was the final collation.
“If that was the only problem, one would think that the worst decision that could be taken was for them to provide the relevant collation sheet to her (Collation Officer) and say ‘go and complete the collation and bring it in the proper sheet.’ But, in law, anybody who is a lawyer knows that the issue of Form does not defeat the issue of substance.
“Now, the substance is that there was a fair, free and credible election, which nobody is challenging.
“The only issue is that it wasn’t conveyed in the proper form and that can be cured and so, as it is, this election has been won and lost; no matter how you look at it and the PDP, Kauran Bauchi Senator Bala Mohammed is, by the grace of God, the governor-elect.
“As it is now, there is no problem, absolutely no problem with the votes from Tafawa Balewa.
“The chairman of INEC has told the world that elections begin and end at the unit. If they had cancelled any result at the level of unit collation or ward collation, it would have stood cancelled but, for there to be peaceful elections, free and fair as attested to by the local government returning officer, Mrs Dominica Anosike, for there to be very peaceful, transparent collation of all the results across the eleven wards in Tafawa Balewa and the only challenge we had was that the governor’s thugs and boys went and invaded the local government collation centre and carted away some result sheets. Thereafter, the returning officer, who collated it on a separate paper, and then wrote a letter, an Explanatory Memoranda to the state Returning Officer and the Resident Electoral Commissioner to say that this was the situation in which they found themselves and that was why they had to use another result sheet to do the computation.”
The speaker also advised the governor to take the honourable path of conceding the election to senator Mohammed.
Dogara reiterated that “thugs” who invaded the local government collation centre were “identified as agents of the governor when apprehended,” and wondered why the governor could still be made the beneficiary of the action by cancelling the result in his favour.”