The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bauchi State has claimed victory in Saturday’s governorship election in the state and has berated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for declaring the election in the state inconclusive.
Speaking at a press briefing held in the state capital on Monday morning, the chairman of the party in the state, Hamza Akuyam, stated that the party will use or legal options available to it to “expeditiously return the people’s mandate within the shortest time possible.”
In the early hours of the day, the state’s returning officer, Mohammed Kyari, declared the result of the gubernatorial election inconclusive. Mr Kyari explained that the margin between the two leading parties, the PDP and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of 4,059 votes was less than the 45,312 cancelled votes. He, therefore, stated that according to Section 26 part 53 of the Electoral Act, supplementary elections would be held within 21 days in areas where election were not held before a winner would be announced.
But before the making the declaration, Mr Kyari had rejected the votes from Tafawa Balewa local government following violence at the local government collation centre. Tafawa Balewa is a stronghold of the PDP and is one of the three local governments that make up the constituency of the speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara. From the result announced by collation officer, Dominion Anosike, at the local government collation centre, the PDP had the largest votes with 40,010 followed by the APC with 29,862 votes.
But this vote was rejected by Mr Kyari for the reported violence at the collation centre despite the claim by Mrs Anosike that there was no violence at the polling units. She, however, said she was made to announce the results at the local government collation centre “under duress”.
The opposition PDP was in the lead after scoring 469,512 votes while the APC had scored 465,453 votes from 19 out of the 20 local governments that were announced at the state collation centre.
Describing decision of INEC to declare the election inconclusive as “arbitrary and unconstitutional”, Mr Akuyam said the national leadership of the commission should compel the collation officer at Tafawa Balewa, Mrs Anosike and the state returning officer, Mr Kyari, to declare his party the winner of the poll.
“We demand that the chairman of INEC should immediately compel the two officers to return to the state collation centre at once and complete the process of return of the Bauchi State governorship election. They are without an iota of doubt a party to the sadistic plan orchestrated by Governor MA Abubakar designed to return to office at all cost,” he said.
“Let me reassure the general public that the PDP will spare no effort to reclaim that mandate which was freely given to us by the people of Bauchi on 9 March 2019,” he added.
Attack by thugs
The chairman alleged that the thugs affiliated to the APC broke into the collation centre at Tafawa Balewa and stole the uncompleted result sheet (Form EC 8C 1) meant for the collation of the governorship election result from 11 wards of the local government.
He said the police stood by and refused to arrest the thugs and when they were accosted by youth in the area they abandoned a 4WD Jeep with registration number AAA 769 EW belonging to the APC House of Representative candidate for Tafawa Balewa. He said the youth later discovered 30 machetes and sticks in the vehicle.
He said having lost the original result sheet to the thugs, a duplicate copy of the form was used to collate the result and that the collation officer and electoral officer of the local government informed the state returning officer of the decision, but he refused to accept the result on the ground that it was written on the wrong form.
“The decision of the state returning officer declaring the Bauchi State governorship election as inconclusive and issuing order of supplementary election within twenty-one days is unwarranted and illegal as no any condition precedent for such directives had existed. Worst still is that the Bauchi State returning officer lacks the legal competence to cancel an election duly conducted by various presiding officers and validly collated at ward and local government level devoid of any opposition by any political party,” he said.
Mr Akuyam, who had earlier accused the state’s police commissioner, Ali Janga of collaborating with Mr Abubakar to intimidate and abduct supporters of the party, also demanded that Mr Janga, the head of the police Rapid Response Squad and the state’s resident electoral commissioner be removed from their positions unconditionally saying his party has lost “confidence in their ability to treat the opposition parties with civility and respect.”
The PDP chairman also demanded the prosecution of some supporters of the APC such as Sarkin Lere, Khalid Musa, Saddique, Suleiman Mado and Bala Burga, who he accused of orchestrating the attack on the Tafawa Balewa collation centre for electoral malpractice.
Similarly, he said Mrs Anosike, who he claimed was a card-carrying member of the ruling APC, should be prosecuted for giving false information and perjury.
Also, speaking at the press briefing, the speaker of the House of Representative, Yakubu Dogara, asked the national chairman of INEC, who is also from the state, to do the right thing and not be a party to stealing of the mandate of his people.
The press conference was also attended by the senator representing Bauchi Central senatorial district, Isa Misau, and the PDP governorship candidate, Bala Mohammed.
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