The Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, announced over the weekend that it will resume collation of results in Rivers and Bauchi states after elections were declared inconclusive.
This decision has been faulted in the two states by the African Action Congress, AAC in Rivers State; and the APC in Bauchi State.
Rivers AAC is reportedly backed by the APC which was blacklisted from presenting a governorship candidate. It opted to support the AAC candidate to stand opposition to the incumbent, Nyeso Wike.
In a statement signed by the Publicity Secretary in the state, Felix William on Saturday, AAC rejected INEC’s claim “that governorship and state assembly elections results were available for seventeen (17) LGAs”.
“Sadly, we are curiously surprised and disappointed that INEC deliberately refused to name the 17 local government areas.
“As far as this information is concerned, it is manifestly false and the attempt to shroud the LGAs claimed to have results in secrecy is a serious step by INEC to sway the outcome of the process in favour of Gov. Nyesom Wike, its preferred candidate,” the party stated.
It further demanded that its candidate be declared winner claiming that “it was glaring that he (AAC candidate) was winning until INEC stepped in to halt the process apparently to save Wike from an earth-shaking defeat”.
Rivers PDP praised the decision declaring it a “substantial representation of the true state of the electoral process before the suspension.”
It also commended the body for “standing by the truth and for its courage and principled determination to ensure that the votes of the people of Rivers State as freely and overwhelmingly expressed on the 9th of March 2019 in favour of the PDP effectively count.”
Nevertheless, it called INEC’s attention to results in other affected local governments not captured in the 17.
“However, we wish to draw the INEC’s attention to the fact that in addition to the 17 Local Government Areas with fully collated results, the elections also successfully held and results declared at the unit and ward levels in five of the six other Local Government Areas where full collation of results is still pending.”
In Bauchi State, The APC kicked against the decision of Nigeria’s electoral body to resume collation of results for the state elections held on March 9, 2019.
The Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly elections was declared ‘inconclusive’ by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on March following disruptions and discrepancies during results collation in Tafawaf Balewa and Ningi local government areas.
Having decided for a supplementary election which was to hold on March 23, INEC, made a U-turn on Saturday to continue results collation of the March 9 exercise, cancelling the rescheduled elections.
The APC, through the state chairman, Alhaji Uba Nana rejected in totality, the decision whilst accusing National Commissioner of the Commission, Festus Okoye, of compromise.
“Unfortunately, the extant decision of INEC reversing the cancellation of Tafawa Balewa Results was earlier sought for but refused by the Court in the said suit at interim stage. Now INEC has granted what was refused by the Court of law in the interest of justice,” he said.
The case was filed at Federal High Court, Bauchi with Suit No. FHC/BAU/CS/18/2019, by Bala Mohammed and PDP against INEC.
INEC had sent a fact-finding committee to the state before reversing its decision on cancellation of the result. Nana alleges that the committee could not have been fair in hearing considering that Okoye is an alleged ally of Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives, a PDP Chieftain.
“The fact-finding Committee chaired by Festus Okoye, the National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee denied fair hearing to APC as a political party whose agents were not invited during hearing of the facts leading to the cancellation of the Results of Tafawa Balewa LGA.
“Any decision taken in violation of fair hearing is illegal, null and void,” he said.
With the decision of INEC resume results collation in Bauchi, PDP candidate, Bala Mohammed could be announced governor-elect on Tuesday having led the APC incumbent, Mohammed Abubakar before the cancellation.