Barely a week to supplementary governorship election in some states across the country, tension is already mounting in Sokoto State.
This is as a result of the non-declaration of Governor Aminu Tambuwal as the winner of the last governorship poll in the state.
Daily Sun gathered that there is a growing fear in Sokoto that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will not provide a level playing field for candidates in the supplementary election.
The INEC declared the governorship election in the state inconclusive, as a result of cancellation of 75, 403 votes.
The electoral body claimed that the figure was higher than 3, 413 votes margin between the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate and the candidate of the rival political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Over the weekend, speculations were rife over alleged plan by the ruling party and INEC to repeat what happened in the Osun governorship election, where the PDP lost to the APC under controversial circumstances.
National President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, said it was terrible that the INEC had become one of the agencies of the executive arm of government and an arm of the APC, by extension.
He urged the INEC to ensure it does not put the country in trouble, “because it is very clear the PDP won all the states declared inconclusive.
“We are only being a victim of the APC. All the states with inconclusive elections are where the PDP is leading. Where the APC won, it becomes conclusive, irrespective of the cancellations.
“I hope they are not doing this to subvert democracy because people are watching and the clouds are getting darker by the day. They should not joke with a state like Sokoto, the seat of the Caliphate, Kano and others.”
Elder statesman and one of the foremost Northern leaders, Dr Junaid Mohammed, also condemned the declaration of some state governorship elections as inconclusive.
He said by the nation’s constitution, a governorship election should be declared by a simple majority.
“I have to admit I’m not a lawyer, but, my commonsensical understanding is that the system we are operating does not allow the situation that the INEC is creating. As far as I’m concerned, anybody who has the highest number of votes is entitled to be declared the winner. The majority among those holding valid votes were counted and I do not understand how somebody will say it is inconclusive,” he said.
Also, spokesman of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, regretted that people are worried over the inconclusive elections ‘’because of the fear of a repeat of the Osun supplementary governorship election experience.”
The returning officer, Fatima Mukhtar, said the margin of win was lower than the number of rejected votes, hence, the election was declared inconclusive.
In the results declared by INEC, Tambuwal led his closest rival, Ahmed Aliyu of the APC, with a margin of 3,413 votes.
Speaking on the development at a press conference, the governor had observed there was no cause for the election to be declared inconclusive.
Though the governor said the INEC was yet to communicate to him the reasons for cancellation of votes in the 136 polling units, he noted it was necessary to draw the attention of the electoral umpire to its guidelines for the exercise.
He said the issue of vote margin was technical and alien to the Nigerian constitution, which stipulates a simple majority and 25 percent of votes cast in a two-thirds majority of states of the federation, as basis for determining a winner.
“This technical reason of margin differences were not applied in Osun and Ekiti elections,” Tambuwal said.