There is uncertainty surrounding yesterday’s Kano State supplementary governorship election after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) suspended the collation of results following a disruption of the process by hoodlums.
Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Riskuwa Shehu, announced the suspension of collation early this morning citing the invasion of Nasarawa Local government collation centre by thugs.
Briefing journalists, observers and party representatives at the State INEC office, Shehu said: “As we were waiting to reconvene with the intention to continue with the collation, we heard a disturbing report that just as they were about to conclude, results collation in Nasarawa local government were disrupted and the result sheet torn away and there was a lot of commotion and the police had to rescue some people.
“As it is now, we don’t have the result and even the E. O. (Electoral Officer) had to be rescued. Luckily, nothing happened to him. He was saved from the crisis
“But the intention of the commission is that we are going to refer to our primary and secondary data of results that were collated from the polling units as well as the ward level.
“When we get the results in the presence of all the representatives of political parties, we will regenerate the results and we will confirm those that are acceptable within our laws and guidelines and those that have to be cancelled because the card readers will have to be referred to as well.
“Based on that, we will have genuine results and we will complete the collation for the state governorship election,” he said.
Early results from the areas in which the re-run election was held in Kano State showed that Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of the APC and Abba Kabir-Yusuf of the PDP were running each other close.
Yesterday’s election held in 208 polling units in 29 local governments with 128,831 voters.
The PDP candidate had polled 1,014,474 votes during the first election, while the APC scored 987,819 votes, leaving a difference of 26,655 votes.
PDP Urges INEC To Declare Its Candidate Winner In Kano
Meanwhile, the opposition PDP has called on INEC to immediately declare its candidate, Abba K. Yusuf, winner of the Kano State governorship election, as he had scored the highest number of lawful votes and secured the statutory 25 per cent in two-thirds of the state.
The party insisted, in a statement yesterday, that no valid polling held on the March 23 Kano supplementary elections and therefore no figures can be fabricated from the exercise to displace Abba Yusuf’s leading margin of over 26, 000 votes.
According to the statement signed by the PDP national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, “INEC is already aware that its supplementary election in Kano was completely disrupted by thugs contracted by the APC, who invaded polling units and chased away voters. The commission therefore cannot accept fabricated figures being bandied by the APC as results from the scuttled rerun.
“The people of Kano State have since made up their minds to have Abba Yusuf as their governor and any attempt by anybody to subvert their will, as already expressed in the March 9 substantive poll, will surely attract the legitimate anger of the masses.
“We therefore call on INEC to immediately do the needful by respecting the will of the people as freely expressed on March 9 and announce Abba Yusuf, the flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party, as the winner of the election, having fulfilled the demands of Section 179 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended),” the party said.
Also, national leadership of the PDP has backed the demands on the IINEC to cancel the March 23 Kano State Supplementary election following the disruption of polls and bloodletting by the APC.
The PDP, in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said all material facts on the supplementary election in Kano State showed that rampaging APC thugs violently took over polling units, attacked and chased away voters and engaged in massive thumb-printing and ballot stuffing for the APC.
The statement added, “INEC is already aware that the Police arrested the Kano State Commissioner for Special Duties, Muktar Yakasai, alongside APC thugs he led to disrupt election in Yelwa in Dala Local Government area of the state.
“Also INEC is already aware of how APC thugs attacked voters in polling units in Gama area of Kano state during which four PDP members were feared killed and many more injured before they carted away ballot boxes for stuffing for the APC,” the statement alleged.
The PDP further cautioned INEC to note that in this circumstance, any results they come out with from this “convoluted electoral process will be a sham and will surely be rejected by the people of Kano State.
“It is completely reprehensible that the APC and Governor Abdullahi Ganduje would resort to violence and bloodletting as a means to attempt to hold on to power after they have been rejected by the people,” the party added.
APC Wins Plateau
The incumbent governor and APC candidate in Plateau State Simon Bako Lalong was this morning declared winner of the rerun election in the state.
In the result announced this morning by INEC, Lalong scored 595,582 votes to defeat Senator Jeremiah Useni of the PDP who got 546,813 votes.
With this Lalong has secured a second term in office.
Collation Officer Shot In Benue
It was a tragic experience for a local government collation officer for Gboko Local Government Area, Comfort Dooshima, as she was shot by unknown gunmen in Makurdi, the Benue State.
Ms Doshima, a professor and lecturer at the University of Agriculture, was on her way to the INEC headquarters, Makurdi, to present results from the local government.
She was rushed to the Benue State University Teaching Hospital.
Benue is one of five states where supplementary governorship elections were held on Saturday. The others are Sokoto, Plateau, Bauchi and Kano.
LEADERSHIP Sunday reports that Governor Samuel Ortom of the PDP was cruising to victory from the results so far collated.
Results of the supplementary governorship poll in Benue State announced so far indicated that the incumbent governor, Samuel Ortom, was leading in the 16 out of the 22 local governments affected.
Of the 16 local governments so far announced, the PDP candidate had polled a total of 11,166 to beat his closest opponent, APC’s Emmanuel Jime who scored a total of 6,420 votes. Results from six local government were pending.
LEADERSHIP Sunday recalls that out of the 23 local governments of the state, the supplementary governorship polls were to be held in 22 LGs and nine for state House of Assembly seats.
In the first round of the election held on Saturday, March 9, 2019, Ortom had polled 410,576 votes against Jime’s 329,022 votes, leading the later with a margin of 81,554 votes.
The election was however declared inconclusive and yesterday was fixed by the Independent National Electoral Commission for the conclusion of supplementary elections.
Gun Attack On Inec Officers In Makurdi
Meanwhile, unknown gunmen were reported to have attacked the convoy of INEC personnel returning to Makurdi collation centre from Gboko local government after the governorship and state assembly supplementary polls.
The attack, according to the Resident Commissioner, Dr Nentawe Yilwatda, took place in Tarka local government where he said the Gboko local government collation officer for the governorship election, Professor Comfort Tuleun was hit by bullets. According to him, the victim is currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital.
While condemning the dastardly act, Dr Yilwatda called on security agencies to work round the clock to apprehend the miscreants.
Also, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC)for Benue, Dr Nentawe Yilwatda, has confirmed the attack on the commission’s convoy on Gboko-Makurdi road by unknown gunmen on Saturday night.
Yilwatda told Journalists in the early hours of Sunday at the INEC headquarters Makurdi, that the Returning Officer for the Governorship supplementary polls in Gboko, Prof. Comfort Tuleun was hit by a bullet during the attack.
”At about 8:30pm this evening an attack was launched on a convoy of INEC personnel returning to Makurdi Collation Centre from Gboko LGA after the close of the Governorship and State Assembly Supplementary polls by unknown gunmen.
”In the course of the attack on the convoy including INEC permanent and ad hoc staff as well as security agencies at Tarka LGA, Prof. Comfort Tuleun, the Gboko LGA Collation Officer for the governorship election was hit by bullets and she is currently receiving treatment.
”The wounded collation officer is from the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi (FUAM).
”INEC regrets this unfortunate incident and calls on security agencies to work tirelessly to apprehend these miscreants and bring them to judgment.
”Meanwhile, as a result of this incident, the commission has no choice but to appoint Dr Joseph Mom of FUAM to replace the wounded official.”
Violence, Ballot Box Snatching Mar Poll In Sokoto
In Sokoto State, violence, ballot box snatching and vote buying characterised the rerun polls yesterday. Thugs in uniforms were said to have disrupted the electoral process in parts of the state.
As collation went on in Sokoto State, available results showed that it could go either way.
However, barring any last-minute exigency, the results collated so far at the Sultan Maccidio Institute of Quranic and General studies showed that the PDP was still in the lead in 18 of the 22 local governments announced where re-run took place.
The results for the 18 LGAs showed that PDP had cumulatively polled 10,499 as against APC’s 10,338. PDP had a lead vote of about 3,413 from the previous election. When added to the total so far polled by the PDP, it means the party is leading with 3524 from the results announced so far, while results for the remaining 4 local governments are still been awaited.
The local governments whose results were yet to be announced include Sabon Birni, Kebbe, Gada and Goronyo.
LEADERSHIP Sunday, however, gathered that the results for some of the local governments, especially like Kebbe, was delayed because of disagreement.
The supplementary election in Sokoto State witnessed pockets of violence and vote buying.
Meanwhile, there was drama yesterday at a polling unit in Bauchi State when voters chased politicians from disrupting the process at Kagadama polling unit in Dass Local Government Area of the state.
They resisted every attempt by the politicians to come near the polling unit as soon as they sighted them.
The voters also insisted that they would remain on the queue despite the fracas, adding that they were determined to vote for the candidates of their choice.
Voter Apathy Trails Imo Supplementary Poll
Low turnout of voters trailed yesterday’s supplementary House of Assembly election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Imo State in five local councils.
The March 9 elections in the affected LGAs which included Ngor-Okpala, Isu, Orlu, Oguta and Ikeduru were declared inconclusive by INEC as a result of irregularities.
Yesterday’s exercise was largely peaceful in the 179 affected polling units with materials arriving on time and accreditation beginning at 8.30 a.m.
Some eligible voters, who spoke to NAN correspondent, however, cited indifference among other things as reason for their lack of interest in the process.
Paulinus Ndubuisi, a tailor said: “I lost interest after the last election because I cannot continue devoting all my weekends to elections.”
Another voter, Ihuoma Opara, a mother of three, blamed her indifference on INEC, saying that the election had been postponed several times and she had three children to cater for.
An INEC official who pleaded anonymity, however, called on the electorate to eschew all forms of apathy, noting that “this is one avenue by which we demonstrate our patriotism, as Nigeria is the only country we can call our own.”
Civil Society Condemn Election Violence In Kano, Sokoto
Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) yesterday condemned attacks on ad hoc staff, media, observers and other electoral participants during the supplementary polls.
It said the attacks marred the polls.
The CDD Director, Ms Idayat Hassan who was represented by an analyst of CDD, Dr Jideofor Adibe in Abuja, said that the group’s observers noted incidents of violence and disruption of voting process.
Hassan said the cases were reported in Kano, Sokoto, Benue and Bauchi states where supplementary governorship and state houses of assembly elections held.
“In Kano State, violence and disruption of polling were widespread as an army of thugs reportedly took over polling activities in several local government areas, including Nasarawa, Dala, Karaye and Gaya.
“It is distressing that political thugs took over the elections, forcing voters to vote along a party line, stoning voters and violently disrupting the elections. ‘’
Hassan said that this was because Gama ward in Nasarawa LGA in Kano State was strategic to winning the supplementary elections by either of the two leading candidates.
She said that in Sokoto, particularly in Bodinga LGA, Bodinga ward (PU11), a dispute which eventually disrupted the election, erupted between the agents of the two leading parties.
She said it was disrupted over attempts by a party agent to assist voters in voting.
She said that evidence suggested that the deliberate deployment of political thuggery during elections seemed to have become the norm in Nigeria.
She said that the trend was extremely disturbing, and it was imperative to safeguard Nigeria’s democracy by holding the perpetrators accountable.
Hassan said that the way thuggery was instrumentalised in the elections queried the essence of the massive deployment of security agents to guard the polls, especially when brigandage ruled.
She said in several instances, the security agents were reported to have turned a blind eye to the act of brigandage perpetrated by the political thugs.
She said that the electoral cycle witnessed so much intimidation, harassment and attack on voters, journalists, observers and INEC officials.
“This unfortunate development, however, took an unprecedented turn in the Kano supplementary elections where party agents and thugs intimidated and attacked voters and observers in the course of exercising their franchise or monitoring the process.’’
Hassan said there was a clear case of where party agents and thugs coerced and intimidated voters to vote for their candidates.
She said that the high level of intolerance against poll monitors was not limited to observers.
She said that in spite of several attempts to entrench peacefully electoral democracy in Nigeria, elections have been marred by upsurge of violence.
She said that the level of impunity at which this gruesome act was being prosecuted by hoodlums at the ballot box and the inability of security agents to respond adequately and hold perpetrators accountable were sources of concern.
Hassan said that incidences of underage voting and vote buying were also recorded where votes were sold for N10,000 and N15,000.
She said there was need to emphasise that the act of vote buying was an offence punishable under the laws and those involved in the act should be arrested and prosecuted according to law.
This, she said, would discourage the increasing rate of the practice.
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