It is five days to the supplementary governorship election in six states across the federation following the Independent National Electoral Commission’s declaration that elections in the affected states were inconclusive after the initial vote of March nine.
Ibraheem Shitta reports that one state in the North East, and two in the North West and North Central geopolitical zones of the country have unfinished business choosing who becomes governor of their states from May 29 this year.
The nations’ electoral umpire based its decision to declare the election in the affected states inconclusive on provisions of the law. Sections 26 and 53 of the Electoral Act (as amended) provides that no winner shall be declared if the margin of victory between two parties with the highest numbers of votes is less than the number of cancelled votes.
But from the statistics, the APC is in the lead in Plateau with a total 583,255 to the PDP’s 538,326 leaving a margin of 44,929 and a total of 49,377 cancelled votes.
The picture differs in the remaining four states where the PDP is commanding a lead. In Adamawa, the PDP has a total of 367,47 to the APC’s 334,995 with a margin of 32,476 votes while 40,988 votes remain cancelled.
Benue voters cast their ballots in the same pattern, favouring the PDP with a total of 410,576 while the APC trailed by a margin of 81,554 having scored 329,022 and which left the total number of cancelled votes at 121,019 cancelled votes .
In Kano, the same picture played out as the PDP pulled clear with 1,014,474 votes to the APC’s 987,819 leaving the margin at 26,655 and an wide number of cancelled votes at 128,572.
Voters in Sokoto didn’t vote any differently as the PDP like in the previous states, came tops with a total of 489,558 to the APC’s 486,145 and left the slimmest margin of 3,413 and cancelled votes at 75,403.
Elections on March 9 were marred by violence, over-voting and hijack of electoral materials, factors that gave rise to serious hitches that increased the chances of supplementary elections.
Observers had also pointed out the enormous challenges that militated against a smooth run in the first round which raised the likelihood of a high number of cancelled votes emerging and consequently exceeding the margin of win during final collation.
Cancelled votes are often the result of registered voters not being able to vote for reasons including violence, or absence of materials and INEC officials. It could also be the result of the numbers of ballots being higher than the number of accredited voters.
But the picture in the six states differs widely from what transpired in Rivers state where elections were suspended, with INEC later blaming soldiers who exhibited partisan loyalties as well as political thugs who also didn’t help matters interfering in the process.
INEC said elections in the remaining six local government areas of Rivers state will take place on Wednesday, ahead of Saturday’s polls in the other five states.