The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Bauchi State, Ibrahim Abdullahi, has blamed the delay in the commencing of collation for the supplementary governorship election on the absence of the State Returning Officer, Muhammed Kyari.
The REC, who made this disclosure at about 1 a.m., said Mr Kyari, a professor, left Yola, the Adamawa State capital, for Bauchi late Saturday night even though he was in full knowledge of the fact that supplementary elections for the governorship election, which he declared inconclusive, was to hold on Saturday.
“Rather than me waiting upstairs in my office for the arrival of the Returning Officer who is on his way from Yola, I felt it is important to come and explain to you on why the Collation has not commenced,” Mr Abdullahi told the handful of people in the collation hall..
“Officially, I am here to inform you that we are waiting for the Returning Officer.
“We have since received all the results from the 15 Local government areas but we were made to understand that the Returning Officer took off a bit late this evening.”
The delay in commencing the collation had ignited a rumour across the state and on social media that the INEC, in connivance with the state government, may be plotting to alter the results.
The REC, who was reportedly forced to come to the collation hall to explain the situation by some concerned party agents, denied any plan to alter results.
“We have been seeing reports going on in the social media that INEC is plotting to change results,” he said.
“The INEC is not an interested party in the outcome of the election. What is paramount for INEC is the processes and the procedure and not the outcome.
“These days, the way INEC has improved its operation, there is no way anybody can change any result; because right from the polling units the results are pasted, so it is going to be practically impossible for this kind of change people are circulating to happen.
“We want to assure that INEC is just and fair to all. So we have to be patient and continue to wait until the arrival of the Returning Officer.”
The REC, who immediately left the hall after his brief address, declined to respond to journalists who wanted to know why the Returning Officer was in far away Yola on election day.
Meanwhile, the supporters of the PDP candidate, Bala Muhammed, who had been keeping a vigil outside the INEC office continued to beat drums as they chanted anti-state government songs.