BAUCHI: PDP rejects INEC declaration of Polls inconclusive
The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Bauchi State on Monday, rejected the declaration of last Saturday’s governorship election in the state as inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This is even as the party called for the immediate redeployment of the state Commissioner of Police and the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state. The Returning Officer for the state, Professor Mohammed Kyari, had early Monday morning declared the governorship election in the state inconclusive, saying that the margin of 4,059 votes between the PDP and the All Progressives Congress (APC) was less than 45,312 cancelled votes. He, therefore, declared that in accordance to Section 26 Part 53 of the Electoral Act, rerun elections would be held within 21 days in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area and other areas where elections were not held before a winner would be announced. Before the election was declared inconclusive, after the announcement of election from 19 of the 20 local government areas in the state, the PDP is leading with 469,512 votes as against the 465,453 votes APC polled. However, while reacting to this development at a press conference at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre in Bauchi, PDP State Chairman, Alhaji Hamza Koshi Akuyam, condemned the INEC action, which he described as unconstitutional. According to Akuyam, the Returning Officer has no legal power to cancel an election whose result was duly signed by presiding officers, adding that the election was at completion stage before it was declared as inconclusive. He expressed regret that Prof Kyari did not consult political parties before taking such decision. The party chairman stated that similar experience to what happened in Tafawa Balewa LGA was witnessed in Katagum Local Government Area during the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections. He added that unlike the Tafawa Balewa case, INEC accepted the results from Katagum LGA and computed same along with others during the February 23 elections. Akuyam disclosed that the Returning Officer and Electoral Officer for Tafawa Balewa LGA had earlier demanded that the results for the area should be brought to Bauchi for declaration, while the party and security agents demanded that the result be declared at the collation centre as required by law. He, however, alleged that the state returning officer and the state Commissioner of Police planned to rob the PDP of lawful votes cast from Tafawa Balewa LGA in which APC lost. The PDP state chairman, therefor, demanded for the redeployment of the Commissioner of Police and INEC REC in the state. On his part, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, challenged Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubukar, who is the APC candidate in the election, to accept defeat. Dogara declared that the APC flag bearer will lose the election in Tafawa Balewa when the rerun election is conducted.