The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday kept its word to announce a new date for the conduct of governorship rerun elections in six states where the processes were inconclusive.
LEADERSHIP exclusively reported that the commission would meet yesterday to fix a date for the rerun elections in Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto States, where the polls were stalemated.
After the meeting chaired by INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the electoral umpire picked Saturday, March 23 to conduct the rerun elections in the affected states.
INEC was however silent on Rivers State where the entire exercise was suspended because of military and police clash at the state collation centre, widespread violence and other electoral irregularities.
By the guidelines for the 2019 general elections, INEC has 21 days to complete elections in areas or states where the processes were not completed.
In a statement it issued last night, INEC said that it “met today, 12th March, 2019 and reviewed the conduct of the governorship elections held in 29 states and 991 state constituencies on 9th March, 2019. In all, the commission declared winners in the governorship elections in 22 states.
“However, 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, 23rd March, 2019 to conclude the process.”
INEC national commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, who signed the statement, added that supplementary elections would also hold in polling units in all states where state assembly elections were declared inconclusive and winners could not be declared.
He said that the “details of the constituencies including the number of polling units and registered voters, will be published on our website tomorrow (today) Wednesday 13th, March, 2019.
“The elections were declared inconclusive for a combination of reasons, mainly the discontinuation of use of the Smart Card Readers midway into the elections or the failure to deploy them, over-voting and widespread disruption in many polling units.
“In compliance with the ‘margin of lead principle derived from Sections 26 and 53 of the Electoral Act as amended and paragraph 41(e) and 43(b) of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of 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 said.
He continued: “Furthermore, the commission has considered a report submitted by the resident electoral commissioner (REC) for Bauchi State on the disruption of the collation at the Tafawa Balewa local government area collation centre, which led to the cancellation of results for the entire local government. The commission found that there are issues that need further investigation and has set up a team led by a national commissioner to resolve them,” Okoye said.