A former minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Sen. Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, yesterday, emerged the new governor of Bauchi State under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Sen. Mohammed, 61, who scored 515,113 votes defeated the incumbent, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar who scored 500,225. The governor was runing for second term under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The margin between the two candidates stood at 14, 488.
Announcing the results, the State INEC Returning Officer, Professor Mohammed Kyari, said Sen. Mohammed having scored the highest number of votes was returned elected.
Before the declaration last night, a Federal High Court in Abuja earlier in the day vacated its order stopping INEC from the collation of results in the Bauchi State governorship election held on March 9.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, upheld the preliminary objection by INEC that the court lacked the requisite jurisdiction to adjudicate on the collation of results for the Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of the state. The court held that the matter was a post-election dispute and only the election petitions tribunal can adjudicate on it. The court had on March 19 issued an interim injunction restraining INEC from concluding the collation exercise in the Tafawa Balewa LGA following an application by the APC and Governor Abubakar.
Sen. Mohammed was leading by a margin of 4,059 votes, with the APC having 465,453 votes before the Tafawa Balewa results were withheld.
Counsel to INEC, Tanimu Inuwa (SAN) had argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to dabble into a post-election matter by halting collation of results in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of the state.
Inuwa contended that having rescinded its decision to declare the election inconclusive "based on facts that emerged later and made a return, any grievance arising therefrom now rests with the election petition tribunal."
However, counsel to the APC and Governor Abubakar, Ahmed Raji (SAN), contended that his clients could not go to the election petitions tribunal without a result, adding that without a conclusive result and a declaration, the tribunal would have no jurisdiction to entertain the matter leaving them without a remedy. The newly appointed Returning Officer for Tafawa Balewa, Dr. Musa Dahiru, a Lecturer with the Federal University, Kashere, Gombe State, said the PDP candidate got 39,225 votes in the contentious council after the re-collation, while the APC candidate got 30,055 votes. Dr. Dahiru replaced Mrs. Dominion Anosike, the former returning officer who backed out over alleged threats to her life.
According to him, Tafawa Balewa has 11 wards or Registration Areas with 139,240 registered voters, saying 74,181 voters were accredited for the election held on March 9.
He further disclosed that, 73, 779 votes were cast with 73,041 valid votes while 738 votes were rejected. According to him, four Polling Units in Dajin, Bununu and Lere with a combined 4,411 registered voters were cancelled due to various reasons that contravened the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and other guidelines for the 2019 elections.
Bauchi State has 2,462, 843 registered voters and 1,143,019 voters were accredited for the governorship election.
The new governor -elect
Born on October 5, 1958, the new Bauchi governor was elected Senator for Bauchi South in April 2007. He was appointed Minister of FCT on 8 April 2010, by Goodluck Jonathan, a development that made him leave the senate to be part of the new cabinet.
He studied English at the University of Maiduguri (1979-1982), where he gained a BA. He joined The Democrat as a reporter in 1983, then worked in the public service as an administrative officer from 1984-2000. He worked in the Ministries of Internal Affairs, Solid Minerals, Power and Steel and Transportation and Aviation.
He retired as director of admin in the Nigerian Meteorological Agency. He then served as a senior special assistant to Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State from 2000 to 2005.
The APC now controls 20 states; PDP 13 while APGA has one. For now, the gubernatorial elections in Adamawa and Rivers states are yet to be decided.
Gov Abubakar congratulates new governor-elect
Meanwhile, Governor Abubakar last night congratulated the governor-elect Sen. Mohammed. The governor in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, Ali M. Ali, said: "I congratulate my brother, Sen. Bala on this victory at the polls.
"I am delighted to note that despite the intensity of the campaigns in our dear state, a peaceful election took place without bloodshed.
"Let me therefore invite the Governor-elect to join me in working out the process of a smooth transition.
"I sincerely thank the entire people of Bauchi state for their support to my administration and urge them to extend the same to the incoming administration.
"I also urge governor-elect to caution his supporters to be law abiding while celebrating since the period of campaigns is now over," he said.