Following Saturday’s governorship elections across Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced that polls in six states were inconclusive.
Thus, supplementary elections in the affected states — Kano, Sokoto, Plateau, Benue, Bauchi and Adamawa — have been scheduled for March 23.
The development has sparked debate because the opposition Peoples Democratic Party recorded higher number of votes in five of the six states. The ruling APC is in the lead in Plateau State.
But the decision of the electoral body is in line with the country’s law that no winner shall be declared if the margin of victory between two parties with the highest numbers of votes is less than the number of cancelled votes.
The decision is 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,
Violence, over-voting, hijack of electoral materials are the main reasons elections were problematic in many places in Nigeria, thereby raising a chance of supplementary election should the number of cancelled votes exceeds margin of win upon final collation.
Cancelled votes usually arise when registered voters are unable to vote for reasons such as violence, or due to absence of materials and officials. It can also arise if the numbers of ballots are higher than the number of accredited voters.
Cancelled votes are different from rejected votes which basically mean invalid votes. For instance, a vote may be invalid or rejected because the voter thumb-printed across columns for different parties or picked more than one party.
The following is the breakdown of results from the affected states where supplementary elections will now hold.
Umaru Fintiri (PDP) – 367,471
Jibrilla Bindow (APC) – 334,995
Margin – 32,476
Cancelled votes – 40,988
Bala Mohammed (PDP) – 469,512
Mohammed Abubakar (APC) – 465,453
Margin – 4,059
Cancelled votes – 45,312
Samuel Ortom (PDP) – 410,576
Emmanuel Jime (APC) – 329,022
Margin – 81,554
Cancelled votes – 121,019
Abba Yusuf (PDP) – 1,014,474
Abdullahi Ganduje (APC) – 987,819
Margin – 26,655
Cancelled votes – 128,572
Simon Lalong (APC) – 583,255
Jerry Useni (PDP) – 538,326
Margin – 44,929
Cancelled votes – 49,377
Aminu Tambuwal (PDP) – 489,558
Aliyu Ahmed (APC) – 486,145
Margin – 3,413
Cancelled votes – 75,403