The Independent National Electoral Commission on Tuesday fixed March 23 for supplementary polls in six states where governorship elections were declared inconclusive after the March 9 elections .
This was contained in a statement issued by the National Officer and Chairman , Information and Voter Education Committee , Mr Festus Okoye , after a meeting of the senior management team of the electoral body to review the conduct of the 29 governorship and 991 state Houses of Assembly elections on March 9 .
Okoye stated , “ 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 . ”

He added that supplementary elections would also hold in polling units in all states where state Houses of Assembly polls were declared inconclusive and winners could not be declared .
INEC, he said , would give details of the constituencies and polling units and registered voters of where the polls would take place on its website on Wednesday (today) .
Okoye explained that the elections were declared inconclusive due to the discontinuation of the use of smart card readers midway into the polls , failure to deploy them , over – voting and violence .
He added , “ In compliance with the margin of lead principle derived from sections 26 and 53 of the Electoral Act 2010 ( as amended ) and paragraphs 41 ( e ) and 43 ( b) of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of the 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 .”
Okoye added that INEC would set up a panel to address the issue surrounding the disruption of the collation at the Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State .
INEC said it would meet again to discuss the Rivers State case which it described as “ peculiar. ”

But while INEC management was meeting in Abuja , some women and youth groups had stormed its Sokoto office on Tuesday to protest against the decision of the commission to declare the state governorship poll inconclusive .

The protesters , who were armed with placards , were denied entrance into the INEC state headquarters . They, however , barricaded the major roads leading to the office of INEC, adjacent to the office of the Department of State Services .
Among the protesters are wife of a former governor of the state , Hajiya Jemila Bafarawa , three serving commissioners in the cabinet of Governor Aminu Tambuwal, Prof . A’isha Madawaki , Dr Kulu Abubakar and Hajia Kulu Sifawa .
Spokesman for the protesters, Muhammad Aliyu, who demanded immediate reversal of the inconclusive status , described INEC’s decision as injustice.

Aliyu said , “ INEC decision is a strategy to deny the people of Sokoto State their choice but , we will resist their imposition . On behalf of the peace- loving people of Sokoto State, we hereby called on INEC to declare Governor Aminu Tambuwal, as the winner of the governorship election held last Saturday .”
The state Commissioner for Women Affairs , Hajia Sifawa, and her counterpart in the Science and Technology, Abubakar , said women from the 23 LGAs of the state were in support of their peaceful protests .
The PDP in Sokoto State , however , said it had set machinery in motion to consolidate its slim margin of 3 ,413 votes ahead of the APC .
The party as parts of it plans towards the supplementary elections as ordered by INEC had revived its alliance talks with other parties at the state level .
The Sokoto State Secretary of the party , Alhaji Kabiru Aliyu , who disclosed this to one of our correspondents on Tuesday said , “We have opened talks with 37 parties that made up the CUPP , for alliance and working cooperation ahead of the run – offs , as ordered by INEC. ”
He added , “ Discussions similar to what our party opened with CUPP are going on in the state as we are speaking and we are sure of a working alliance to our advantage that will ensure our victory . ”
However, there was a lull at the APC secretariat and the official contacted kept mute on the possibility of an alliance .
One APC chieftain , who spoke to one of our correspondents , on condition of anonymity , said the APC was capable of turning the table .
He said , “Alliance or no alliance , we have the capacity and following to win Sokoto State. What happened was that there was little complacency on our part and such will not repeat itself during the supplementary election .
“ We will use the opportunity of the supplementary elections to show that our victory at the presidential and National Assembly elections is no fluke.

Meanwhile , the Nigeria Intervention Movement on Tuesday expressed concerns over the decision of INEC to declare governorship elections in some states inconclusive .
It described the development as “ brazen corruption of our electoral system .”
Consequently , the NIM has fixed a nationwide protest against INEC for April 3 .
The movement ’s position was contained in a statement by its Director , Media and Publicity Bureau , Mr Debo Adeniyi.
He said , “The political third force in Nigeria under the umbrella of Nigeria Intervention Movement wishes to warn INEC 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 election last year .
“ We wish to alert the entire country that, we of the third force , are already exhausted by these 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 added that the movement would on April 3 announce a day of national mass action against all lapses observed in the 2019 elections .
He asked all allied movements , parties and stakeholders to be on the alert .

But the Kano State Governor , Abdullahi Ganduje , said the PDP and its candidate should prepare for a shocker because the APC had gone back to the drawing board .
The governor , who spoke through the state Commissioner for Information , Youth and Culture and Chairman , Publicity 2019 Election , Mallam Muhammad Garba , said , “The APC as a party has also re – strategised and very confident of victory because the local government areas where the rerun will take place remain the APC strongholds and the electorate in these areas have made up their minds to vote massively for the governor they trust . ”
However, the state PDP governorship candidate , Abba Yusuf , has expressed confidence that he will emerge victorious anytime the run – off is held .
This was contained in a statement signed on his behalf by his spokesman, Sanusi Dawakin- Tofa , in Kano on Tuesday.
He accused the ruling APC of electoral fraud which he said was responsible for cases of over – voting which led to the cancellation of results from 172 polling units , thus reducing the margin of PDP’ s victory which led to the declaration of the election as inconclusive .

Yusuf said , “ Kano people have glaringly seen how the enemies of democracy who are high ranking officials of the state government, including the serving deputy governor , and others vandalised an election collation centre with a sole aim of truncating the declaration process to deny PDP of victory . ”
He also said , “ It is our prayer that all election offenders would be charged to court at the earliest possible time to serve as a deterrent to all anti-democratic forces .
“ We call on all supporters to remain calm ; we are known to be peace lovers and so we shall remain, as we are very sure of victory during the rerun .
“ Our supporters should not forget that the PDP is already leading in the last count of the election and interestingly, the bye- election would take place in the strongest areas of our party . ”

However, the Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II has appealed for calm following tension generated by the outcome of Saturday ’s governorship election .
INEC had declared the Kano governorship election inconclusive following the cancellation of results from some polling units .
The number of cancelled votes was more than the margin of win between the winner and the first runner – up .
Sanusi made the appeal at a media briefing in his Palace , in Kano on Tuesday.
Tension had built up among supporters of the incumbent governor , Abdullahi Ganduje of the APC and his main challenger , Abba Yusuf of the PDP , following INEC’s declaration.
Yusuf had polled 1,014,474 while Ganduje garnered 987,819 in the keenly contested election.
Although the APC won in 28 out of the 44 Local Government Areas , the number of votes scored was not enough to counter that of the PDP which won in the remaining 16 decisive LGAs.
Some residents had remained indoors for fear of a possible breakdown of law and order as a result of the bitter campaigns .
But the Emir urged residents and citizens of the state especially politicians to avoid unguided statements capable of causing a breach of the peace .
He said , “ The law empowers only INEC to announce results of election and that should be respected; therefore , those sharing results not released by the electoral body should stop it.
“ INEC is the only body accorded the power under the law to announce election results and it has done that announcing the election as inconclusive , hence , there will be re – run .
“ Politicians should not see elections as war but rather a contest that should be conducted in friendly atmosphere .”

Also , the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre has expressed concern about declaration by INEC that the outcome of the elections in some states as inconclusive .
CISLAC Executive Director , Auwal Ibrahim Musa , said , “The apparent disproportionate declaration of the state electoral outcomes by INEC, especially across the states whose results are declared inconclusive calls for concern. ”
Musa, in a statement on Tuesday, called on INEC “ to uphold uniformity, equity and justice in the announcements to ensure free , fair and credible outcomes that will be acceptable to all .
“ We are surprised at the fragmented reaction by the electoral body towards outcome declaration in the affected states , as such is capable of heightening electoral distrust and apathy . Nothing in the declaration of the elections inconclusive should be used as a means of subverting the popular will of the people.
“ In recent times , the electoral process has been heated with a series of provocative statements , destructive arguments and negative utterances that can impair our national democracy , as observed in the emerging verbal attacks and derogatory statements trending among political parties rather than discourse on developments . ”
CISLAC also demands immediate arrest and prosecution of any person or group of persons threatening violence or instigating crisis of any form during and after the general elections .

Meanwhile , there are strong indications that the Peoples Democratic Party has intensified talks with other parties in the Coalition of United Political Parties as part of the preparations for supplementary polls in six states where the governorship polls had been declared inconclusive by INEC.
The PDP is leading in five of the states ; the All Progressives Congress is coasting to victory in Plateau before INEC declared the polls inconclusive .
The PDP had in 2018 formed a coalition with many opposition parties with the aim of ousting the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the 2019 elections.Meanwhile , there are strong indications that the Peoples Democratic Party has intensified talks with other parties in the Coalition of United Political Parties as part of the preparations for supplementary polls in six states where the governorship polls had been declared inconclusive by INEC.
The PDP is leading in five of the states ; the All Progressives Congress is coasting to victory in Plateau before INEC declared the polls inconclusive .
The PDP had in 2018 formed a coalition with many opposition parties with the aim of ousting the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the 2019 elections.



                   

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