On Inconclusive Elections
THE inconclusive tag associated with the recently organized governorship election in the country has no doubt cast a slur on the image of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
OF the 29 governorship elections held, seven are yet to be concluded. Six of the seven were formally declared inconclusive elections. The last, Rivers, has simply been halted with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, unsure of how to proceed.
PERHAPS coincidentally, of the six states where elections were declared inconclusive, the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) was leading in five (Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Kano, and Sokoto) while Nigeria’s ruling party, All Progressives Congress, APC, was in the lead in Plateau.
THE National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, has accused INEC of being ”overtly partisan” and surrendering its independence to the ruling APC for declaring governorship elections in states where the PDP was in clear lead as inconclusive.
SENATOR Shehu Sani also described the development as a ploy to favour the ruling All progressives Congress, APC. According to the lawmaker , “Rerun polls are Resit exams for the ruling party.
THE APC, while reacting to PDP’s complaints regarding the inconclusive elections, said that the opposition party’s claims are baseless. “PDP only wants things to be done to favour her own interest. But for us in APC, we always subdue our interest to that of the National,” the statement said.
HOWEVER, it is not only governorship elections that were declared inconclusive. After the February 23 national elections, INEC declared seven senatorial elections and 24 federal constituency elections inconclusive across 14 states. The supplementary elections in the affected areas were held on March 9 before eventual winners were declared.
THE 2019 election is also not the first time INEC will declare elections inconclusive. It did so in five states (Imo, Abia, Taraba, Kogi and Bayelsa states) in 2015. The November 14 2018 governor election in Osun State was also declared inconclusive.The Winner of the election was not declared until November 21, 2018.
HOWEVER, the number of inconclusive elections in 2019 is more than at any other time since 1999. INEC has fixed March 23 for supplementary elections in the six states, where March 9 elections were declared inconclusive. The states are; Adamawa State Umaru Fintiri (PDP) – 367,471 Jibrilla Bindow (APC) – 334,995 Margin – 32,476 Cancelled votes – 40,988 Bauchi State; Bala Mohammed (PDP) – 469,512 ;Mohammed Abubakar (APC) 465,453; Margin – 4,059, Cancelled votes – 45,312 Benue State ;Samuel Ortom (PDP) – 410,576,Emmanuel Jime (APC) – 329,022, Margin – 81,554Cancelled votes – 121,019
KANO State Abba Yusuf (PDP) – 1,014,474 Abdullahi Ganduje (APC) – 987,819 Margin – 26,655 Cancelle votes – 128,572 Plateau State; Simon Lalong (APC) 583,255, Jerry Useni (PDP) – 538,326 Margin – 44,929 Cancelled votes – 49,377 Sokoto State; Aminu Tambuwal (PDP) – 489,558 Aliyu Ahmed (APC) – 486,145 Margin – 3,413, Cancelled votes – 75,403.
INEC may have derived it powers from ‘Margin of Lead Principle’ this rule is contained in Sections 26 and 53 of the Electoral Act and paragraph 41(e) and 43(b) of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines.
THE rules state that election is inconclusive if the sum total of the cancelled and voided votes from the polling centres and the number of the electorate disfranchised by such action is higher than the differential between the two first runners-up in the election.
WE feel that this trend of inconclusive election and applying the rule is making Nigerians lose confidence of her electoral process in the International community and foreign observers and encourages politicians to unleash violence in areas where they are unpopular and thus gives them time to plan on how to salvage the situation.
OUR position is that the political class have perfected this as a craft. It’s another rigging mechanism being used to bend the wheel in their own favour.
THEY always ensure they disrupt elections in oppositions strongholds with the hope that INEC will cancel the process in those areas. It’s more of an intent for the political class.
WE therefore call on INEC to devise a means of determining whether disruption of electoral processwas as a result of politicians antics. We canvass that if such happens, INEC should record zero vote for such area instead of organizing or declaring election inconclusive. This step will go a long way at stemming the spate of inconclusive elections.
WE also canvass for a total overhaul of the electoral system. The introduction of electronic voting would put a stop to all these problems.
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