The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of being "overtly partisan" and surrendering its independence to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), by declaring governorship elections in states where the PDP was in clear lead as inconclusive.
The electoral body had declared governorship elections inconclusive in Plateau, Kano, Benue, Adamawa and Sokoto States.
Incidentally, except Plateau, the PDP is in the lead in the troubled states.
However, INEC has declared results in eight more states with the APC clinching victory in five, Kaduna, Yobe, Borno, Zamfara and Nasarawa; while the PDP got Delta, Cross River and Imo.
This brings to 21, the number of results declared, 13 having been released on Sunday.
Collation of results was still ongoing last night in Taraba and Bauchi. Processes in Rivers had been suspended indefinitely on Sunday following what INEC called widespread disruption of voting and collation of results by unauthorised persons.
Speaking in Abuja yesterday, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, accused the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, of overtly playing the script of the Muhammadu Buhari presidency and the APC.
He said the party had full intelligence of how INEC was acting on instructions from the federal government and the APC in orchestrating unwholesome situations and declaring already concluded governorship elections in Sokoto, Adamawa, Bauchi, Plateau, Kano as well as other states as inconclusive, immediately it becomes obvious that the PDP was set to win those states.
The main opposition party called on its leaders, teeming members and lovers of democracy in the affected states to immediately commence a march to INEC offices and use all legitimate means to protect the party's mandate as freely given by the people at the polling units across the nation.
Ologbondiyan said: "Under Prof. Yakubu, INEC has become overtly partisan, surrendered its independence to the APC and carries on as a compromised umpire with obnoxious impunity, thereby sending signals of being heavily compromised by the APC to alter results for its candidates.
"This also informs the foisting of unexplainable stoppage and delays in the announcement of already collated results in other states where the PDP is clearly leading the race, from the results so far declared at the polling units.
"Our party has also been informed of how INEC is now seeking ways to use the situation to aid the APC to alter the results and announce APC candidates as winners in the elections clearly led by the PDP just as it did in the 2018 Osun State governorship election.
"In some of the states like Rivers, the PDP has information of plots by APC to leverage on the declaration by INEC to unleash more violence in the state and push for isolated election where they can bring in more security forces to concentrate on forcefully taking over the state."
Ologbondiyan stressed that today, majority of Nigerians and the global democratic institutions are questioning the state of the country's democracy and electoral processes, which have been under siege under the supervision of President Buhari and INEC chairman.
The PDP therefore cautioned Yakubu and INEC to perish the thoughts of altering any figures for the APC and to immediately announce the winning results in the states and others where its candidates clearly won, going by the results already declared at the polling units, wards and local government collation, adding that anything short of this would attract the legitimate wrath of the people.
Electoral Body Awaits Fact Finding Committee Report on Rivers
Meanwhile, INEC has said that it is awaiting the report of the Fact-Finding Committee it set up to assess the situation in Rivers State before taking further decision.
The commission had on Sunday suspended all electoral processes in the state after the invasion of the state collation centre by soldiers.
The electoral body had said that the initial assessment revealed widespread disruption of the electoral process and the harassment and intimidation of various categories of permanent and ad-hoc staff of the commission.
It also noted that its initial assessment also revealed the disruption of the collation process, hence its reason for setting up a Fact-Finding Committee to assess the situation in the state and report back within 48 hours.
However, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Festus Okoye, told THISDAY yesterday that the commission would take a decision after the committee submits its report, adding that the report would enable the commission to understand the dynamics of the situation.
He stated: "The commission will take a stand when the Fact-Finding Committee submits its report. We urge the people of Rivers State to continue to maintain the peace and await the decision of the commission on the way forward.
"The Fact-Finding Committee will enable the commission to understand the dynamics of the situation in Rivers State. The commission will take a rational and informed decision that accords with the constitution, the law and its regulations and guidelines. The commission is determined to protect the sovereign right of the people of Rivers State to determine those that will preside over their affairs."
On supplementary election in states where the election had been declared inconclusive like Bauchi, Adamawa, Sokoto and Plateau States, he stressed that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and the Regulations and Guidelines made on the 12th day of January 2019 give INEC 21 days to conduct supplementary elections where elections are inconclusive.
Okoye stressed that some of the states in the federation are yet to make a declaration and a return, adding that the commission must wait and have a clear idea of the polling units and Registration Areas as well as the local governments where supplementary elections would take place.
He added: "The commission must print ballot papers and result sheets for the supplementary elections. The commission must mobilise Presiding Officers, Collation Officers, Registration Area Technical Support Team and reconfigure the Smart Card Readers. The commission must resolve the financial implications of the supplementary elections.
"The commission will fix the date for the supplementary elections when it has received reports from the Resident Electoral Commissioners and resolved the logistics and financial implications of the supplementary elections."
The electoral body, however, claimed that the collation process has been transparent and the various media groups and organisations are beaming it live, adding that the conditions for the cancellation of votes and invocation of supplementary elections are clear.
Okoye stated: "The commission will conduct supplementary elections in places where it could not deploy on account of its own logistics challenges. It will conduct supplementary elections where there have been over voting. It will conduct supplementary elections where card readers malfunction midway in the conduct of elections.
"It will conduct supplementary elections where ballot papers are not available or remaining after disruption of the electoral process. It will conduct supplementary elections where there is violent disruption of the electoral process in a substantial number of polling units before announcement of results.
"The decisions relating to cancellations are taken in the presence of party and security agents. The commission does not determine the voting preferences of the voters.
The commission does not know where political parties are dominant. All the 91 registered political parties are equal before the law."
On allegation that smart card readers were not used in some places in Imo State, Okoye pointed out that the commission has made it clear and it has been consistent that the use of the Smart Card Reader is mandatory.
He said that the commission has resolved to entrench the regime of the Smart Card Reader in the country's electoral process, noting that the commission would continue to upgrade the Smart Card Reader as veritable quality control mechanism for verification and authentication of the Permanent Voters Card and the Voters.
"The Presiding Officers and the Collation Officers are aware of the Regulations and Guidelines of the Commission relating to the use of the Smart Card Readers. Those that willfully sabotage the use of the Smart Card Reader know that there will be consequences. Communities that obstruct the use of the Smart Card Reader risk casting wasted votes as zero vote will be recorded for them."
El-Rufai Re-elected Kaduna Gov
Governor Nasiru El-Rufai has been re-elected as governor of Kaduna State for the second term in office.
Announcing the result yesterday in Kaduna, the State Returning Officer, Prof. Muhammed Bello, said El-Rufai, of the APC scored 1,045,427 votes to emerge winner, beating the PDP's Alhaji Isah Ashiru who scored 814,168 votes.
Buni Wins Yobe
The National Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, was declared the winner of the governorship election in Yobe State. He defeated all other candidates in all the seventeen local government areas of the state.
The Returning Officer, Prof. Abubakar Kundiri, who announced the result late Sunday night, said Buni of APC scored 444,013 beating his closest opponent, PDP's Alhaji Umar Damagum, who polled 95,703 votes.
Okowa Returns in Delta
Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, was declared the winner of the governorship election in the state.
Declaring the result, the state Collation/Returning Officer, Prof. Seth Jaja, who is also the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University Otuoke, Bayelsa State, said Okowa, the candidate of the PDP, polled 925,274 votes to defeat the first runner-up, Chief Great Ogboru of the APC, who polled 215,938 votes.
Idris Wins in Zamfara
Alhaji Muktar Idris of the APC emerged winner of Zamfara State governorship election.
Muktar secured 534,541 votes out of the 810,782 votes cast across the 14 government areas of the state.
Announcing the result, the Returning Officer, Prof. Kabir Bala, said
Bello Matawalle of the PDP scored 189,452 to emerge second.
Zulum Takes Borno
The APC candidate, Prof. Babagana Zulum, yesterday declared the winner of the governorship election in Borno State.
He swept aside 31 other contestants, polling 1,175,440 votes to beat his closest opponent, Alhaji Mohammed Imam of the PDP, who garnered 66,115 votes, according to the INEC Returning Officer, Prof. Alhassan Gani.
Sule Emerges in Nasarawa
In Nasarawa State, APC's Alhaji Abdullahi Sule picked up the governorship.
Prof. Abdullahi Bala, Returning Officer for the election, announced Sule as governor-elect yesterday in Lafia after the collation of results from the 13 local government areas of the state.
Bala said the APC candidate polled 327,229 votes to defeat other opponents in the election.
According to him, Mr. David Ombugadu of the PDP scored 184,281 votes, while Mr. Labaran Maku of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) polled 132,784 votes.
Ayade Gets Four Years More in C' River
Governor Benedict Ayade was re-elected as governor of Cross River State for the next four years.
Announcing the result in Calabar, the State Returning Officer, Prof. Akim Ibhadode, said Ayade of the PDP won the election with 381,484 votes.
The APC's Senator John Enoh scored 131,161 votes.
Finally, INEC Declares Kano Election Inconclusive
After initial suspension of collation of result and resumption yesterday, INEC eventually declared the governorship election in Kano inconclusive last night.
The candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf, scored more votes than the incumbent state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, with a slim margin.
While Yusuf got 1,014,474 votes, Ganduje so far scored 987,810, making a difference of 26,655 votes.
With 2,211,520 accredited voters, 172 polling units were cancelled making a total of 100,873 votes cancelled and 49,761 votes rejected.
With the slim margin between the two candidates and very high cancellations, the State Returning Officer and Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Birnin Kebbi, Prof B. B. Shehu, said it is not enough to declare PDP winner in the contest and so the cancelled units will be reviewed by the INEC.
The collation had to be suspended on around 1:30a.m. yesterday, due to the delay in submitting the Nasarawa Local Government Area results to the collation centre at the INEC headquarters.
It was later announced that hoodlums had attacked the local government collation centre at Nasarawa and disrupted the process thereby doing away with the result of Gama ward.
INEC was able to regenerate the disrupted results of 10 out of the 11 local governments but the Gama result was cancelled due to the circumstances surrounding the loss of the result sheet by the LG Returning Officer, Prof. Khaleel Abdulsalam of the Bayero University Kano.
Ihedioha Wins in Imo
The PDP's Emeka Ihedioha emerged the Imo State governor-elect last night.
He polled 273,404 votes to defeat 69 other candidates, including his closest rival, Uche Nwosu of Action Alliance who scored 190,364 votes.
Announcing the results at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Owerri at exactly 10:08pm yesterday, the state returning officer, Prof. Francis Otunta, said the All Progressives Grand Alliance candidate, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, polled 114,676 followed by the All Progressives Congress candidate, Senator Hope Uzodimma, who scored 96,458 votes.