What to know about the inconclusive elections in six states

INEC office signpost
INEC office signpost

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.

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Adamawa State

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Umaru Fintiri (PDP) – 367,471

Jibrilla Bindow (APC) – 334,995

Margin – 32,476

Cancelled votes – 40,988
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Bauchi State

Bala Mohammed (PDP) – 469,512

Mohammed Abubakar (APC) – 465,453

Margin – 4,059

Cancelled votes – 45,312
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Benue State

Samuel Ortom (PDP) – 410,576

Emmanuel Jime (APC) – 329,022

Margin – 81,554

Cancelled votes – 121,019
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Kano State

Abba Yusuf (PDP) – 1,014,474

Abdullahi Ganduje (APC) – 987,819

Margin – 26,655

Cancelled votes – 128,572
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Plateau State

Simon Lalong (APC) – 583,255

Jerry Useni (PDP) – 538,326

Margin – 44,929

Cancelled votes – 49,377
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Sokoto State

Aminu Tambuwal (PDP) – 489,558

Aliyu Ahmed (APC) – 486,145

Margin – 3,413

Cancelled votes – 75,403

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