Governorship polls : we cant cancel results from problematic states- INEC

Independent National Electoral
Commission has said it has no power to
cancel the results of the governorship
and state Houses of Assembly elections
in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states.
It made this known to The PUNCH a few
hours after the European Union Election
Observation Mission to Nigeria on Monday
called for a probe of the “severe
problems” that characterised the polls in
the two states.
The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC
chairman, Kayode Idowu, said those
calling on the commission to cancel the
results were misdirecting their request.
He explained that once results had been
announced by INEC , only election
petition tribunals had the power to
cancel and order fresh elections.
Idowu said, “The law does not allow us
to cancel any result after it has been
announced. Everyone knows this.
“It is only the election petition tribunals
that can order that or even cancelled
the elections. We would advice anyone
who is aggrieved to go to the court. “
Also in Abuja on Monday, EU EOM said
the elections in Akwa Ibom and Rivers
states needed to be probed because of
accusations of rigging, intimidation and
violence by opponents of the winners.
Udom Emmanuel won the governorship in
election in Akwa Ibom while a former
Minister of State for Education, Nyesom
Wike, triumphed in Rivers.
The Chief Observer of the EU EOM,
Santiago Fisas, said at a news
conference that even though the
elections witnessed “more efficient
polling, “there were “increased incidents
of violence and interference.”
He added, “On April 12, INEC referred
to 66 reports of violent incidents
targeting polling units, INEC officials,
voters and election materials in 19
states in all geopolitical zones except for
the North-East.
“Both the main parties made many
accusations of rigging, intimidation and
violence by opponents. Problems were
most pronounced in Rivers and Akwa
Ibom states where there are multiple
credible reports of violence and
interference, which warrant further
investigation.”
Fisas however encouraged those with
grievances to address them through
official channels.
The Chief observer also commended
President Goodluck Jonathan for
conceding defeat before the last result
was read.
Fisas, who described the election-
related killings as regrettable, stressed
that loss of lives was unacceptable in
election conduct.
He said, “It is very regrettable that so
many people lost their lives during the
elections. Election must be violence-
free; loss of lives is not acceptable.
Citizens should be able to express their
political will freely without fear for their
lives.
“My full condolences go to families and
friends of those who have been killed
during this election process; also to the
family of the Resident Electoral
Commissioner in Kano, who perished with
his family in the tragic fire.”
Also on Monday, the United States which
congratulated Nigerians and INEC on the
successful conduct of the general
elections, said it had “seen the reports
of violence and alleged irregularities,
particularly in Rivers and Akwa Ibom
states.”
In a statement by its Embassy in
Nigeria, the US callED on those
dissatisfied to pursue their grievances
peacefully through the judiciary.
The statement read in part, “The US
Embassy in Nigeria congratulates the
people of Nigeria and INEC for an
electoral process on April 11, 2015 that
generally went well across the country
and built on the success of the March 28
polling process.
“We have seen the reports of violence
and alleged irregularities, particularly
in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, and
call on those dissatisfied to pursue their
grievances peacefully in the judicial
arena. We regret any loss of life and
destruction of property.”
It lauded “the leadership of Nigeria’s
political parties, notably President
Goodluck Jonathan and President-elect
Muhammadu Buhari, for urging their
supporters to conduct themselves
peacefully throughout the electoral
process.”
…Presidency, militants rigged elections
in Rivers, A’Ibom –APC
But in Lagos, the national leadership of
the APC accused the Presidency and
Niger Delta militants of rigging the
elections in two states.
The APC, at a news conference by its
Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed,
described the elections in the states as a
mockery of democracy.
It therefore called on INEC to cancel
the elections.
The party said, “It is clear that the
script for the distortion of the Rivers
elections was written by the Presidency
and executed by the PDP, the police and
militants
“As you would recollect, our party’s
chapter in Rivers had written a petition
complaining of the crass partisanship of
the Rivers State Commissioner of Police
in the presidential and National
Assembly elections held on March 28.
“Because of this petition, the Inspector-
General of Police, Suleiman Abba,
posted three police commissioners from
the Force Headquarters in Abuja to
oversee the April 11 elections in Rivers
State.
“As soon as the President learnt of this
development, he directed the IG to
reverse the decision and instead
requested that AIG Tunde Ogunsakin be
posted to oversee the April 11 elections
in Rivers State.”
The APC spokesman said as soon as
electoral materials were distributed, a
senior police officer in Akukutoru Local
Government Area simply handed over
the election materials for this local
government to the militants.
He said upon learning of this
development, Ogunshakin ordered that
the materials should be recovered and
handed over to the electoral officer for
the LGA within the next hour.
Mohammed said, “Irked by A
Ogunsakin’s directive, the Presidency
ordered him to leave Rivers State within
six hours and a pliant replacement was
asked to take over from him.
“From then on, unimaginative terror was
unleashed on the electorate, in
particular on APC members and
supporters. It was a straight fight
between the police, the militants and
the PDP on the one hand and the APC
on the other hand.”
He said in former Governor Victor
Attah’s ward in Ibesikpo Asutan, three
contiguous polling units did not receive
election materials.
Mohammed said that electoral officers
even told the APC governorship
candidate, Umana Umana, that the
election process was marred by security
failure, which allowed PDP thugs to
hijack election materials and take them
to private homes for thumb-printing.
The PDP however said it was wrong for
the APC to call for the cancellation of
the results because there was no way it
would not have won the polls in the two
states.
…APC is wrong, says PDP
The National Publicity Secretary of the
party, Olisa Metuh, told one our
correspondents that the PDP might as
well demand that the presidential
election be canceled because of the
irregularities it noticed.
He said, “There was no way we wouldn’t
have won the elections in both Rivers
and Akwa Ibom states because they are
our stronghold.
“Maybe we should as well ask that the
presidential election be canceled
because of the irregularities we noticed
during the conduct of the election.”
Metuh called on the APC to learn to
accept the outcomes of elections
Meanwhile, the announcement of the
governorship election results by INEC
enetered a second day on Monday with
the APC winning additional six states
and the PDP, three.
The states whose results were announced
in APC’s favour are Zamfara, Jigawa,
Adamawa, Niger, Nasarawa and Borno.
The PDP had Rivers, Delta and Cross
River states.
As of Sunday midnight, INEC had
formally declared the candidates of the
APC in 13 states as winners. The states
are Sokoto, Kebbi, Kwara, Oyo, Ogun,
Lagos, Katsina, Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi,
Plateau, Yobe and Benue.
It also declared the PDP candidates in
Gombe, Enugu, Ebonyi and Akwa Ibom
victorious.
When the results began to trickle in
between 1pm and 7pm on Monday, INEC
announced more APC candidates as
winners.
In Nasarawa State, Governor Tanko Al-
Makura scored 309, 746 votes to beat his
closest rival,Yusuf Agasi of the PDP, who
had 178, 983 votes.
Abdulaziz Yari scored 716,964 votes while
Mamuda Shinkafi of the PDP in
Zamfara State had 201,938 votes.
Also in Jigawa, Badaru Abubakar
defeated Aminu Ringim of the PDP by
polling 648, 045 votes. Ringim had
479,447 votes.
INEC merely confirned unofficial reports
of Jibrilla Bindow, Abubakar Bello and
Kashim Shettima’s victories in Adamawa,
Niger and Borno states.
Bindow defeated PDP’s Nuhu Ribadu by
scoring 362,329 votes. Ribadu had 98,917
votes.
While Bello had 593,702 votes, Umar
Nasco of the PDP in Niger State had
239,770 votes.
In Borno State, Shettima scored 649, 913
votes as against 34,005 votes by Gambo
Lawan of the PDP.
The PDP candidates however floored
their APC counterparts in Rivers, Delta
and Cross River states.
In Rivers State, a former Minister of
State for Education and PDP torch-
bearer, Nyesom Wike, trounced APC’s
Dakuku Peterside having polled
1,029,102 votes. Dakuku had 124,896
votes.
In Delta State PDP’s Ifeanyi Okowa
became governor-elect after defeating
APC’s O’tega Emerhor by garnering
724,680 votes. Emerhor had 67, 825
votes.
Benedict Ayade of the PDP in Cross River
also handed defeat to his APC closest
rival Odey Ochicha. He polled 342,016
votes as against Ochicha’s 53,983.
INEC which also updated the results of
the Benue State election, had declared
the Imo, Abia and Taraba state
governorship results inconclusive.
As of Sunday night when the Imo results
were announced uncompleted, Governor
Rochas Okorocha of the APC was leading
his PDP counterpart and Deputy Speaker
of the House of Representatives, Emeka
Ihedioha.
APC’s candidate in Taraba State,
Jummai Alhassan, was also leading
other candidates in the state.

Culled from Nigerian PUNCH

views expressed are not necessarily the opinion of blog author.

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