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Published On: Wed, Mar 20th, 2019

Benue Inconclusive Guber Polls: Forum of former Nigerian Ambassadors wants INEC to set up committee

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From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi

Forum of former Nigerian ambassadors of Benue extraction has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to follow the example of Bauchi and request the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to set up a committee to investigate the inconclusive governorship polls in the State.
Leader of the forum and former Ambassador of Nigeria to Canada and Mexico Prof. Iyorwuese Hagler who gave this advice at a press conference at the NUJ House, Makurdi yesterday, called on the President to do the needful and declare the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP and Governor Samuel Ortom as winner of the March 9th Governorship polls.
Prof. Hagher argued vehemently that the election has been won and lost hence INEC should cancel the supplementary election scheduled for March 23rd,2019.
He also, advised the INEC to do the needful to reverse itself through the removal of votes tallied from Guma, Azendeshi, Vandeikya, and Mbalom wards as not among the votes cancelled, but wards where the parties each scored 0 each; and to declare Governor Samuel Ortom as winner of the Benue governorship elections 2019.
“We are all from Benue State and have been first hand observers of the recently conducted INEC elections in the country. In Benue state the drama of the 2019 general election is far from being over. Like other parts of the country the elections witnessed a shocking level of violence that claimed the lives of fellow citizens. There were several cases of snatching and burning of ballot papers and purchase of votes as well as the compromising of electoral officers and security agents.
As a firm believer in “Electoral Democracy” these developments must give you much pain; especially as your own election demonstrates that the majority of Nigerians have put their trust in you. In 2015 as now the Benue voters trooped out in thousands to re-elect you.
“We pledge our loyalty and support to your decision not to interfere in lNEC re-run of the inconclusive elections across the nation. We are equally aware of lNEC challenges to satisfy and even pacify greedy politicians who see in elections; wars that must be won and their opponents as enemies to be conquered and subdued rather than citizens to be convinced. We are proud of [NBC decision to rescind and reverse on its earlier decision that declared Bauchi State elections as inconclusive. This is why we send this open dispatch to you, to request that you appeal to [NBC to also cancel the rerun elections in Benue State this Saturday 23rd March 2019.
“The Benue case is similar to the Bauchi case in many ways and as father of the nation we implore you to give INEC the courage to do the right thing by following its regulation number 47 of its guidelines.
Encourage INEC to exclude votes in places where card readers were rejected, and elections were disrupted and where lNEC rather than record zero for all parties , appeared to have tallied the registered votes in these areas amounting to over 60,000 registered voters. If this figure is cancelled from the tally there will be no need for a rerun. In other places where INEC could have regenerated results; as in the Bauchi Tafawa Balewa case, lNEC instead seems to have included these in cancelled votes; thus justifying an inconclusive verdict. It is best imagined why they did this”, he said.
The forum insist that INEC must abide by Regulation 47 of its guidelines for conduct of the 2019 election which provides that in the determination of the margin of lead principle, the Returning Officer shall be guided by the following procedures amongst others; where voters resist the use of Electronic Smart card Reader, ESCR for accreditation, the Returning Officer shall record zero for all the parties and proceed with the collation of results,where elections are held and results declared at the Polling UNITS, PUs but disrupted at the Registeration Areas, RA/Ward collation or LGA, the Returning Officer shall regenerate the results from duplicate copies of form EC 8A, B or C issued to party agents or security officers who covered the election and proceed with the collation of the results; It was reported that this procedure was not adopted in the affected areas of Guma and Konshisha LGAs.
Niger: Ketso, INEC urged to allow Agaie H/A election stands From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna The people of Agaie local government in Niger State have advised the deputy Governor, Alhaji Mohammed Ahmed Ketso and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to desist from its antics to up turn the
result of its announced 9th March 2019 elected House of Assembly member Hon. Yahaya Abdullahi of PDP.
This was coming on the backdrops of an attempt ongoing by the Ahmed Ketso and the REC Prof. Samuel Egwu to carry out a rerun in two or three units that were canceled due to over voting, ballot box snatching and violence hence the results was announced, duly signed by the agents and security.
A Peoples Democratic Party stakeholder and party returning officer, Alhaji Abubakar Iman Ndeji in a press briefing yesterday in Minna said that the results were formerly announced by the council Returning Officer, Prof. Musa G.M Kolo as directed by the Electoral Officer, Yakubu Alawa assured of following the legitimate means of protecting their mandate despite government use of its powers.
According to him, the All Progressive Congress APC candidate Umar Abdullahi scored 17,920 while the Peoples Democratic Party candidate Hon. Yahaya Abdullahi defeated him with 18,026 votes as announced at the collation centre (INEC office) in Agaie and contained in Form EC 8E (1) result sheet duly signed by relevant people.
Ndeji noted that they are heading to court seeking injunction to stay action on the said matter, alleged that because of the deputy governor’s desperation for his defeated APC candidate has invited traditional rulers, Imams and others from the canceled units of Jikpangi, Wuna-Degeci and Akwanu.
He said that the closed door meeting held in Ketso’s house in Minna where to told them to vote and support the APC in the planned rerun election assured them of immediate provision of social amenities, like boreholes, constructions and renovation of their primary schools.
According to him, Ketso further threatened them of severe pains if they failed the ruling party not taking into cognisance the electoral law that stipulates that “if election have been conducted and completed as well results announced, any other problems should seek court jurisdiction not a rerun” he stated.
The former PDP council Chairman raised alarm that any attempt to up turn the already announced result may lead to serious crisis in the area because the people have spoken through their votes alleging INEC compromised hence must be able to ensure peace however charged party supporters to be calm and law abiding.
When contacted the state INEC education officer and head of Information, Mr Arthor confirmed plan to conduct a rerun in two units from two different wards next Saturday and would hold stakeholders meeting with Agaie people on Thursday despite the earlier announcement.
He said one of the unit slated for the rerun has a population of 800 noting that INEC does not contravened any electoral law by conducting a rerun argued not to have declared a winner of the said election.

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