The Independent National Electoral Commission has approved the resumption and conclusion of the collation of results of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State which was declared inconclusive.
But the All Progressives Congress in Bauchi State has rejected INEC’s decision to reverse the cancellation of the governorship results of the local government.
The local government area is one of the three LGAs Speaker Yakubu Dogara represents at the House of Representatives, with a total of 139,240 registered voters.
The commission specifically approved the appointment of a new Collation/Returning Officer for Tafawa Balewa LGA to conclude the collation process.
The new personnel will replace former Collation Officer and Head of Department of Estate Management at the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, Mrs Dominion Anosike, who withdrew from the exercise over alleged threats to her life and those of her family members.
A statement issued on Friday and signed by INEC National Commissioner and chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said the collation process for Tafawa Balewa LG would resume on Tuesday, March 19, 2019.
With this development, the crisis over the declaration of the Bauchi State governorship election which was declared inconclusive may have been brought to an end.
The statement reads, “On March 12, 2019, INEC considered a report submitted by the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Bauchi State on the disruption of the collation process at the Tafawa Balewa Collation Centre which led to the cancellation of results for the entire council.
“The commission found that there are issues that need further investigation and set up a committee for that purpose. The committee found out that the governorship and state assembly elections held on March 9, 2019 in Tafawa Balewa LGA and the votes scored by candidates were announced at the polling units and collated at the 11 registration areas of the LG.”
The INEC said it also found out that halfway into the LG collation, armed gangs attacked the collation centre and destroyed the LG result sheet (EC8C) and some collated results from the registration areas.
The results of seven out of 11 Registration Areas for the governorship and six out of 11 for State Assembly elections were affected.
INEC guidelines provide that where violent disruption affects collation in such manner, results should be regenerated from duplicate copies on a replacement result sheet.
The APC demanded for a return to “status quo ante as of 11th March, 2019”, adding, “The position taken by INEC is illegal, null and void, having no regard to the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and INEC’s guidelines for 2019 general elections”
But the PDP in the state has hailed the latest decision of INEC, with its state Chairman, Hamza Akuyam, saying it was a bold step in the interest of justice.
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