- As court vacates restraining order
- APC rejects INEC’s new date
By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja and Umar Dankano,Yola
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that the governorship supplementary election in Adamawa State, which was earlier stopped by a court injunction, will hold tomorrow (Thursday, March 28).
The decision to conduct the Adamawa governorship supplementary election, according to INEC, was sequel to discharge of the injunction, which hitherto stopped the election.
The disclosure was made on the INEC twitter handle yesterday.
The message on the INEC Twitter handle, posted by its Director of Voters Education and Publicity, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi reads, “Following the discharge of the injunction which stopped the governorship supplementary election in Adamawa State in the case filed by the MRDD (Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy), INEC will now conduct the election on Thursday, 28th March, 2019 from 8am to 2pm in 29 Registrable Areas (RAs), 44 polling units across 14 LGs with a total number of 40, 988 registered voters”.
Addressing a press conference later in the day in Yola yesterday, Resident Electoral Commissioner in the State, Barrister Kassim Gana Gaidam said, following the Yola High court vacation order restraining the Independent National Electoral commission, INEC from conducting the pending governorship election in Adamawa State, the commission (INEC) has fixed Thursday 28th March for the conduct of the supplementary election.
He said with the vacation of the court order and intelligence report by the security agencies, the commission is fully prepared to conclude the exercise.
Barristar Gaidam stated that the stakeholders, especially political parties, should note that only registered voters with their permanent Voter’s cards (PVCs) in the affected 44 polling units in 14 local government areas will be allowed to participate in the exercise.
Gaidam also warned the political parties to know that no any monitor or observer from any political party will be allowed during the election; saying only accredited domestic, foreign observers and journalists will be allowed at polling units.
He called on all stakeholders to be law abiding during and after the supplementary election so that a hitch free exercise can be attained.
Recalls that, the Yola High court (4) has ordered that the governorship supplementary election can proceed in Adamawa state, following its vacation of earlier order halting the Independent National Electoral Commission from conducting the exercise.
Justice Abdulziz Waziri of the court, at a sitting on Tuesday in Yola, ruled that the election process should continue; insisting that his court has the jurisdiction to adjudicate on the case filed before it by the political party Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD) against the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC.
Subsequently the court has fixed Wednesday March 27 (today) to hear the originating motion by MRDD asking the court to nullify the Adamawa Governorship election conducted on 9th March, alleging that INEC has removed the logo of the party during the election.
The court, it could be recalled, had earlier asked the electoral empire INEC to stop the scheduled supplementary elections slated for last Saturday 23 March.
INEC had, earlier, declared Adamawa State governorship election inconclusive, through an announcement by the state returning officer, Andrew Haruna, a professor, who said the inconclusive declaration was necessitated by the margin of votes between the two top candidates, which is less than total votes voided in about 40 polling units.
The returning officer said there were 40,988 votes that were cancelled in 44 polling units across the state.
According to him, “The margin of lead is 32,476; and going by the margin of lead which is backed up by law in the INEC Regulations and guidelines for the conduct of elections”.
He cited INEC laws that sanctioned his action. “In page 17 paragraph C of the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections on the margin of lead principle states that where the margin of lead between the two leading candidates in an election is not in excess of the total number of voters registered in polling units where elections are not counted or voided, in line with Section 26 and 53 of Electoral Act, the Returning officer shall decline to make a return until votes have taken place in the affected polling units and the results collated in to the relevant forms for declaration and return.
“This is the margin of lead principle and shall apply wherever necessary in making returns in all elections to which this Regulations and Guidelines apply.”
The returning officer thereby declared that, “Looking at the total number of votes which has been harvested from the total number of voters registered in the 44 Polling Units, in the 29 Registration Areas, the Margin of Lead Principle should apply.
“And, therefore, I declare this exercise inconclusive”, he added.
Before being declared inconclusive, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmadu Fintiri, was leading in the Adamawa State governorship election.
Mr. Fintiri led the incumbent governor, Jibrila Bindow with a vote margin of 32, 476 votes.
Mr. Fintiri polled 367, 471 votes in the inconclusive election, while the governor, Mr. Bindow polled 334, 995 votes. The party with the third largest votes was ADC which polled 113, 205 votes.
The returning officer said the total registered voters in Adamawa state was 1,973, 083. He said a total 894, 481 voters were accredited for the election.
Along the line, one of the registered political parties in the country, Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD) approached a Yola High Court to stop the election on the ground that its logo was missing in the ballot paper for the election.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Adamawa has rejected the new date, March 28, fixed by the Independent National Electoral Commission for
the supplementary governorship election in the state.
The Organising Secretary of the party, Ahmed Lawal, announced the party’s decision in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Yola on Tuesday.
Lawal said that INEC did not consult the party before fixing the new date for the poll.
He said, “INEC failed to consult with political parties involved in this election before going ahead to fix a new date for the re-run. We, therefore, became suspicious due to rumours in town earlier that supplementary election would be conducted on Thursday; and it turned out to be true.
“We are not afraid of re-run election, but INEC should have done the right thing.
How can you fix an election on a working day? Are civil servants not going to participate in the election?
“We are going to forward our protest on the matter to INEC,’’ he said.