Mohammed Kyari, the returning officer of governor election in Bauchi, has declared the governorship election in Bauchi State inconclusive.
Mr Kyari explained early Monday morning at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office where the results from the 20 local governments of the state were being collated that the margin of 4,059 votes between the two leading parties was less than 45,312, which was the number of cancelled votes after results from 19 local government were collated.
As a result, Mr Kyari stated that according to Section 26 part 53 of the Electoral Act, supplementary elections would be held within 21 days in areas where elections were not held before a winner would be announced.
Meanwhile, after the announcement of election from 19 of the 20 local governments in the state, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is in lead after scoring 469,512. The PDP was closely followed by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) with 465,453 votes. The People’s Redemption Party (PRP) came third with 45,735 votes followed by the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP) with 31,057 votes.
Mr Kyari rejected the result from Tafawa Balewa local government following reports of violence and disruption of collation of result at the local government collation centre.
When she was called to announce the result collated at the local government, the local government collation officer, Dominion Anosike, explained that thugs attacked her and other officials of the INEC during collation and made away with result sheets and other documents.
She, however, explained that after the police and other security agencies in the local government restored peace, she continued with the collation of the results with her laptop and added that she was made to announce the result at the local government collation centre “under duress”. When asked if the result she was about to announce was genuine, she said it was.
But the agent of the APC, Umar Tilde objected. According to Mr Tilde, the results were manually inputted into her computer and thus was not a true reflection of the results from the wards.
Therefore, Mr Kyari said due to the confusion around how the results were collated and because Mrs Anosike did not follow INEC guideline on how to collate result in cases where collations were disrupted by violence, he cannot accept the result from Tafawa Balewa.
Tafawa Balewa is a stronghold of the opposition PDP and is one of the three local governments that make up the constituency of the speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
During the 23 February national assembly elections in the local government, Mr Dogara won the APC’s candidate with about 5,000 votes. According to the result announced by Mrs Anosike at the local government collation centre, the PDP had the largest votes with 40,010 followed by the APC with 29,862 votes.
The agent of the PDP, Tanko Dutse, said the cancellation of the result from Tafawa Balewa was illegal as the returning officer did not have the power to cancel result already collated.
He also added that since there were no reports of violent clashes and disruptions of voting at the polling units (this was also collaborated by Mrs Anosike), which he said was the only ground for the cancellation of results, the returning officer acted outside his power by rejecting the result from Tafawa Balewa.