•Women protest in Sokoto
• INEC goofed in Adamawa – PDP
Folaranmi, Yenagoa and Paul Orude, BauchI
Angry reactions and protest have trailed the declaration of governorship election inconclusive in six states by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
Though the electoral body argued that it took the step in line with the provision of the Electoral Act, some claimed the move was designed to serve partisan interest.
INEC withheld elections in Sokoto, Bauchi, Plateau, Benue, Adamawa and Kano, pending when supplementary elections would be organized in areas were results were either cancelled or failed to hold for various reasons.
Meanwhile, protest broke out in Sokoto State, as three serving female commissioners in the cabinet of Governor Aminu Tambuwal led a procession of women groups on a peaceful demonstration to INEC headquarters in Sokoto State yesterday.
The trio, Prof. A’isha Madawaki, Dr. Kulu Abubakar and Hajia Kulu Sifawa, described INEC’s declaration of the governorship election ‘inconclusive’ as injustice and called on the electoral body to declare Governor Aminu Tambuwal as the winner.
Also in the procession were the state PDP Women Leader, Hajia Rabi Iyawa and Hajia Jamila Bafarawa, wife of former Sokoto State governor/presidential candidate; Permanent Commissioner in Sokoto State Basic Education Board, Hajia Fatima Illo, among others.
The State Returning Officer in Sokoto had said the decision to declare the election inconclusive was because the 75,403 cancelled votes in 136 polling units was higher than the 3,413 margin between Tambuwal’s score and that of the APC candidate.
Tambuwal polled 489,558 votes while his closest rival, Ahmad Aliyu of the APC, scored 486,145 votes.
NAN reports that policemen barricaded the road leading to INEC to prevent the demonstrators from gaining access into the Commission’s office.
However, none of the INEC officials responded to the protesters.
In a related development, a group, the Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM), also flayed INEC’s declaration of election inconclusive in six states as a “brazen corruption of our electoral system.”
NIM, in a statement by its Director, Media and Publicity Bureau, Mr. Debo Adeniyi, vowed to resist the development with everything at its members’ disposal.
He said the electoral body’s strategy was meant to put machinery in place for eventual rigging of the elections as allegedly seen in the case of Osun State governorship election in 2018.
“The political Third Force in Nigeria under the umbrella of Nigeria Intervention Movement wishes to warn the Independent National Electoral Commission to desist from the antics of declaring elections almost won inconclusive to enable its ‘favoured’ political parties to put machinery in place for eventual rigging of the elections as cleverly invented during the Osun State governorship elections last year.
“We wish to alert the entire country that we of the Third Force are already exhausted by this disingenuous antics of INEC officials and have decided to resist this with everything at our disposal as it is brazen corruption of our electoral system by INEC in collusion with parties in power.
“We note that this style of mandate manipulation is again about to happen in the governorship elections in some states like Kano, which shall be resisted with a nationwide mass action in Nigeria to express our principled grievances against the obvious lapses in the 2019 elections.”
Adeniyi said the movement will on April 3 announce a day of national mass action against all lapses observed in the 2019 elections.
However, one person has been confirmed killed and several others injured in election related violence in Bauchi State as political thugs reportedly attacked residents on Monday.
Police Public Relations Officer of the Command, Kamal Abubakar said nine suspects have been arrested.
“They invaded the Doya, Bakaro and Abuja Kwata areas, among others of the Bauchi metropolis. We mobilised our patrol teams and moved in immediately into the area and they were able to contain the situation and made some arrest,” the PPRO, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, said.
This is even as PDP in Adamawa State asked INEC to decalare Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri winner.
The PDP said INEC erred in basing its decision to declare Adamawa elections as inconclusive based on section 53, subsection 2 and 3 of the electoral act which requires that elections should be declared inconclusive when the winning margin is less than the total votes cancelled.
Former governor, Boni Haruna, said in Yola that the PDP have reliably gathered that the total number of permanent voters cards collected in the 44 polling units is 31,027, a figure that would not reverse PDP winning decision even if reruns were held.
The results of the elections as announced by INEC shows that the PDP candidate, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri won the elections by 367,472 votes as against 334,995 votes by the APC candidate. The margin of win by the PDP candidate is 32,476 votes.While we were waiting for the outright declaration of out candidate, we were taken aback with INEC’s declaration of the elections as inconclusive, on the grounds that the margin of win by PDP (32,476), was less than 40,988 in 44 polling units where the elections did not hold or were cancelled.”