Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
Following the inconclusive governorship election declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Bauchi State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the incumbent state Governor, Mohammed Abubakar, to surrender the mandate of the people as he has already lost the election.
THISDAY reported that the Returning Officer for the elections in the state, Prof Mohammed Kyari, last Sunday declared that the election in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of the state was inconclusive.
According to him, the PDP governorship candidate, Senator Bala Mohammed, got 469, 512 votes to defeat his closest rival and incumbent Governor, Abubakar of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who scored 465, 453 votes.
Kyari had said the margin between the two candidates were 4, 059 votes, having cancelled the votes of Tafawa Balewa LGA which were 139, 240.
The INEC returning officer added that the number of cancelled votes in the elections even without that of Tafawa Balewa LGA were 45, 312 and had declared that: “I, therefore, based on Section 26 (53 ) of the Electoral Act, declare the elections in Bauchi State inconclusive.”
He also directed INEC to conduct a re-run election in the affected LGA within the next 21 days.
However, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, who was flanked by the PDP governorship candidate, Mohammed, and state party chairman and other party stalwarts at the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) secretariat yesterday in Bauchi, alleged that the cancellation of election in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area by the state Returning Officer, Professor Kyari, was illegal and orchestrated to oppress the people of the state.
Dogara alleged further that the governor had on several occasions referred to him as a light-weight politician, whose constituency could only deliver nothing more than seventy thousand votes, adding that Governor Abubakar boasted that he won his election in 2015 with three hundred thousand votes, and doesn’t need any vote from Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area to become the governor.
“I want the media to ask the governor if it will not therefore amount to an act of unprecedented shamelessness for him to go now to Tafawa Balewa, my constituency, with only seventy thousand votes that he does not require and campaign for their votes or to illegally source from there to make up and become the governor.
“If there is any honour on his part, having declared that he doesn’t need one single vote from there, I think honour demands that he should surrender at this point that he has lost this election.”
The Speaker alleged that apart from the illegal cancellation, INEC in the state was still sourcing for other units that they will cancel even after they have collated and declared the results as they are not sure of what will happen in Tafawa Balewa during the supplementary election.
Dogara said the election was peaceful, free and fair at the unit level as attested to by the local government returning officer, alleging that the only challenge they encountered was that political thugs of the governor invaded the local government collation centre and carted away with some result sheets.
He called on INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, to intervene in the election crisis rocking the state, saying the declaration of inconclusive election in the state by INEC was a brazen rape of the mandate of Bauchi State.