By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended the supplementary election for Ese-Odo/Ilaje federal constituency in Ondo state, pending the determination of the suit filed against the commission by the Labour party in the state’s High Court.
A statement issued by the commission’s Director, Voters Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said INEC had conducted a by-election into Ese-Odo/Ilaje Federal Constituency of Ondo State on 5th April, 2014.
It said that at the end of collation, the Returning Officer for the by-election declared the election inconclusive for the reason that election did not take place in certain Polling Units, while results of the election at some other Polling Units were cancelled due to violence.
Meanwhile, the statement said based on the collated result, Labour Party had a total of 23,926 votes, while the PDP had a total of 22,628 votes with a difference of 1,298 votes.
It also put the total number of registered voters in the 59 polling units where election did not take place or was cancelled due to violence at 28,952.
The commission therefore said the difference in the number of votes earned by the leading candidate and the runner-up, which is 1,298, is less than the number of registered voters who did not have the opportunity of voting at the election, which is 28,952 and representing over 16% of the total number of registered voters.
It said based on this margin, the Returning Officer rightly declared the election inconclusive, which was why the Labour Party, which is the ruling party in the state went to court to challenge the cancellation of the election.
“Subsequently the Commission decided in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and its guidelines for the election, to conduct a supplementary election in the 59 affected polling units to conclude the process.
“However, the Labour Party has filed a suit at the Federal High Court Akure, Ondo State against the Commission in respect of the election in Suit No.fhc/ak/cs/28/14 Between Labour Party Vs INEC and seven (7) others”, the statement said.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party and its candidate, seek from the Court for declaration, among others, that the Labour Party and its candidate be declared winner of the by-election.