Bauchi: Row over INEC’s decision to resume collation of result

The decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to resume collation and announcement of result for Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area, which was hitherto cancelled, has sparked huge controversy in Bauchi State.

Consequently, diverse groups have reacted to the development.

The Body of Bauchi Lawyers of Conscience (BOBOLAC) had backed INEC’s reversal of the cancellation of the votes of the Governorship polls of Tafawa Balewa Local government area saying “We consider INEC’s decision as the best and most proper thing to do under the circumstances”

Addressing Journalists on Monday over the development, the convener of the body, Shipi Rabo Esq, said INEC acted in accordance with the dictates of the law and in the greater interest of all in taking the decision in question.

Shipi therefore called on all political actors to demonstrate the support, cooperation and understanding necessary for INEC to successfully conclude the process and formally announce the winner so the waiting game characterized by tension, rumours, would be over.

Meanwhile, the Concern Citizens, Tafawa Balewa, has opposed and INEC’s decision saying it is “Ultra Vires” contrary to law and therefore illegal with no regards to the provision of Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and INEC guidelines for 2019 general elections.

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The group stated that INEC has no power to reverse any decision taken by a Returning officer concerning election result at the collation centre.

Addressing a press conference on Monday, the Caretaker Chairman of the Concern citizens of Tafawa Balewa, Salihu Barau, said the law provides that such a decision can only be reversed by a court of law or Tribunal and not the Commission for whatever reason.

“There is no certainty on the genuineness of the allegedly generated results. Thus, we have lost confidence in INEC as it is apparent there would be no justice in the whole exercise.”

It would be recalled that a fact-finding committee was set up by the commission to investigate the circumstances that led to the cancellation of results for Tafawa Balewa Local government and following the findings of the committee, INEC had approved the resumption and conclusion of results for Tafawa Balewa in relation to the Governorship election.

The Commission also directed that error in total number of cancelled votes in four polling units in Ningi Local government area which was recorded as 25,330, in form EC40G (i) be corrected to 2,533.

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The ruling All progressive Congress, APC, in Bauchi State is currently trailing the opposition People’s Democratic Party and its candidate, Bala Muhammed, with 4,059 votes.

The APC and the incumbent governor, Mohammed Abubakar scored 465,453 votes against the PDP’s 469,512 votes.

A total of 1,048,220 votes was cast in the Bauchi guber election with valid votes totalling 1,026,801.21.

419 votes were rejected while 45,312 votes were cancelled but with the error of cancelled votes discovered in Ningi Local Government where the number of cancelled votes in four polling units were recorded as 25,330, in lieu of 2,533, the cancelled votes has been reduced to 22,515.

The collation process which will commence on Tuesday 19th March will definitely determine if there would be a rerun or not.

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