Inec announces March 23 as the date for supplementary elections in six states but no decision on Rivers yet

NIGERIA'S Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) has announced March 23 as the date when supplementary elections will hold in six states where the recent governorship polls were declared inconclusive.

On March 9, Nigerians elected governors into 29 of the country's six states but the elections were declared inconclusive in Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto states. This was because the number of cancelled votes in these states exceeded the number of votes which the leading candidate had over his nearest opponent.

Festus Okoye, the chairman of Inec's information and voter education committee, said: “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, March 23, 2019 to conclude the process.”

He added that supplementary elections would also hold in polling units in all states where state houses of assembly polls were declared inconclusive and winners could not be declared. later today, the details of all such constituencies, polling units and registered voters where the polls would take place will be published on Inec's website.

According to Mr Okoye, the elections were declared inconclusive due to the discontinuation of the use of smart card readers midway into the polls, failure to deploy them, over-voting and violence. He added that Inec Okoye added that Inec would set up a panel to address the issue surrounding the disruption of the collation at the Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State and would meet again to discuss the Rivers State situation, which it described as peculiar.

While Inec's management was meeting in Abuja, some women and youth groups stormed its Sokoto office to protest against the decision of the commission to declare the state governorship poll inconclusive. Although the protesters, who were armed with placards, were denied entrance into the Inec state headquarters, they barricaded the major roads leading to the office.

Among the protesters were the wife of a former governor, Hajiya Jemila Bafarawa, three serving commissioners in the cabinet of Governor Aminu Tambuwal, Professor A’isha Madawaki, Dr Kulu Abubakar and Hajia Kulu Sifawa. They want Inec to declare Governor Tambuwal the winner given that he is leading with 3,413 votes at the moment.

A spokesman for the protesters, Muhammad Aliyu, said: “Inec's decision is a strategy to deny the people of Sokoto State their choice but we will resist their imposition. On behalf of the peace-loving people of Sokoto State, we hereby called on Inec to declare Governor Aminu Tambuwal, as the winner of the governorship election held last Saturday.”

Meanwhile in Kano State, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, has expressed confidence that he will win the rescheduled elections despite trailing at the moment. He said his All progressives Congress (APC) had gone back to the drawing board to ensure that it wins the March 23 elections.

However, the state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate Abba Yusuf, has expressed confidence that he will emerge victorious anytime the run-off is held. He accused the ruling APC of electoral fraud which he said was responsible for cases of over-voting which led to the cancellation of results from 172 polling units, thus reducing the margin of PDP’s victory which led to the declaration of the election as inconclusive.