Mixed reactions have continued to trail the decision of INEC to resume collation of the gubernatorial election results in Bauchi State earlier declared inconclusive by the State Returning Officer, Professor Kyari Mohammed just as the ruling APC and opposition PDP are trading words over the development.
While the PDP said that it is waiting for justice to be done as it has maintained from the beginning, the party won the election the ruling APC has rejected the decision to resume the collation of the results alleging that the INEC is working for the PDP to deny it of victory.
The PDP Chairman in the State, Hamza Koshe Akuyam said that: “God so kind, to us, INEC and to me or to our party, has done what is right. So, we are all prepared for whatever, and we know that victory is with us in sha Allah”.
He added that: “There are technical issues that are being done, one is, in every election, there are rules that are defining the election. One is the margin of difference was not much than the votes cancelled. But we are still contesting this because before what the Returning Officer said was 45,000 votes, now it is coming down to 22,000 votes which is fair as 22,550 votes that were added on the initial figure”.
Hamza Akuyam added that: “So, we will now go back to our arithmetic and see what will happen. But let’s assume that there is going to be a rerun, we are already in the lead with about 14,000 votes. So, we are prepared”.
While speaking on INEC decision, he said, “They have done justice. We cried foul and they set up a Committee to investigate and the Committee has done justice. To us, we still have confidence in INEC. What we don’t have confidence in are the Police and other security agents who were compromised in all these issues. They knew what happened when these people went to the collation centre and vandalise, they were there. And we were surprised that even the paper that the police usually hold were also vandalised. When INEC asked them, they said they were vandalised. Can you imagine somebody going to the Police Station to vandalise the papers?
“So, we don’t have confidence in the Commissioner of Police, we don’t have confidence in the Director of SSS because they are another set of M.A Abubakar”, he concluded.
While the APC was addressing a Press Conference, late on Saturday, the state chairman of the party, Alhaji Uba Ahmed Nana said that the position taken by INEC contravenes the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended declaring that the decision to resume the collation of governorship election results from Tafawa Balewa local government area was done in bad faith.
He said, “Considering the letters and spirit of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999 as amended), and the INEC Guidelines for 2019 General Elections, INEC is not empowered to reverse any decision taken at the Collation Center by the Returning Officer appointed for that purpose. Such decisions can only be reversed by a Court of law especially when INEC cannot approbate and reprobate”.
“The composition of the Committee is also questionable as the Committee Chairman, Festus Okoye Esq, is a close ally of and ex-personal Solicitor of Hon. Yakubu Dogara of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).No justice can be done by the committee chairman who is interested in the whole issues and the instant circumstances” Uba Nana alleged.
He added that: “This was proved by the fact that PDP has already pre-empted the outcome of the Committee’s finding which was widely circulated on social media (On Yakubu Dogara’s Facebook page) before formal publication by INEC, “.
The APC further added had in a letter dated 14th March 2019, it applied to INEC to cancel the result of Bauchi Local Government on grounds of over-voting, non accreditation of voters and other electoral malpractices, stating that INEC is yet to respond or take any action on its request on Bauchi LGA result to be cancelled.
“It was our belief that INEC was an unbiased umpire but we are being disproved by the unfolding circumstances especially as regards the cases of Tafawa Balewa and Bauchi Local Government Areas. We, therefore, reject in clear and unambiguous terms, INEC decision in reversing itself on the results of Tafawa Balewa as contained in the Press Release dated 15th March, 2019 and signed by Festus Okoye WSW, the National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, same is illegal, null and void for being contrary to Las and Rules of Natural Justice, “the party argued.
Meanwhile, supporters of both parties have continued to discuss the development since it broke in the early hours of Saturday, while PDP supporters hailed the decision and welcomed it APC supporters, on the other hand, have condemned it describing it as a move to truncate democracy in the state.
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