19 March 2019

Nigeria: Bauchi Poll - Governor Abubakar Meets Buhari, As INEC Resumes Collation Today

Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State, yesterday, met President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of the continuation of collation of governorship election results today in the state.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had fixed today (Tuesday) for the continuation of the collation in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area (LGA) and correction of some errors in Ningi.

Daily Trust reports that the winner of the governorship election may be announced today. The battle is between Governor Abubakar of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Sen. Bala Mohammed of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

INEC had on Friday, formally set aside the cancellation of results of gubernatorial election in Tafawa Balewa LGA of the state.

Governor Abubakar met the president 24 hours after the presidency said Buhari won't interfere with the poll result.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting at the State House, the Bauchi governor said he met the president over the INEC decision.

"I briefed him on the issues surrounding the inconclusive elections, the Returning Officer for Bauchi State at the end of collation, rejected the result of Tafawa Balewa local government and then 36 other units spread around 15 local governments of Bauchi State and ordered a rerun.

"Surprisingly, we woke up one morning and INEC came up with a procedure that is not known to law. Because, where a Returning Officer has declared the result, only an election petition tribunal can reverse the result. But INEC is attempting to reverse itself in the case of Bauchi. And when one juxtaposes that of Bauchi and other states with inconclusive elections, one wonders why that is happening only in Bauchi State.

"So, for that reason, there is a need for me to come and brief Mr President because that has the potential of touching on the security of the state and it is paramount," he said.

On whether INEC's decision was illegal, he said: "Of course, it is definitely extra legal. It is a straight forward matter. The returning officer is the final arbiter even with respect to scores and declaration of result. And once he makes a declaration, no power can reverse that declaration except duly constituted court of the land.

"I am not seeking any action of Mr President. We all know Mr President, he is a stickler for procedure. What I pointedly told him was that I am not here to seek for you to interfere on our behalf sir but to brief you on what is happening and what actions I have taken."

He said he also briefed the president on his decision to seek legal redress on the matter.

"One of which is that I'm a lawyer and I am pursuing the legal angle. I briefed him and he emphasized on that legal angle, that it is the best way to go," the governor said.

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