Nseobong Okon-Ekong writes that the increasing incidence of inconclusive polls has dented Nigeria’s evolving democratic culture
Every season of political activities gives nuances to existing words and throws up new phrases. In Nigeria’s contemporary history of politics, the June 12, 1993 Presidential election popularised the word ‘annulment’. In the current Fourth Republic, the word ‘inconclusive’ has been reintroduced into the political lexicon.
Inconclusive gained a new acceptance last year in the governorship election in Osun State, when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared that there was no clear winner after the first round of ballot. Since then, the word has gained notoriety. Many political pundits had predicted that the recently concluded presidential election may be declared inconclusive because of the envisaged keen contest.
Though the presidential election escaped the ridiculous disposition of being inconclusive, a couple of seats in the National Assembly which were contested the same day was visited with INEC’s hammer of the inconclusive.
Last Saturday, March 9, the rescheduled elections into state houses of assembly and governorship elections held. Of the 29 states that governorship elections took place, some states have been visited with the infamous malaise called inconclusive.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which accuses the Chairman of the INEC Prof. Mahmood Yakubu,
of overtly playing the script of the Buhari Presidency and the All
Progressives Congress (APC) by declaring governorship elections in
states where the PDP is in clear lead as inconclusive.
A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbodiyan insists that INEC, under Yakubu, 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 bribed by the APC to alter results for its candidates.
According to him, “The PDP has full intelligence of how INEC is acting on instructions from
the Buhari Presidency and the APC in orchestrating unwholesome
situations and declaring already concluded governorship elections in
Sokoto, Adamawa, Bauchi, Plateau as well as other states as
inconclusive, immediately it becomes obvious that the PDP was set to
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
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.
Already, in Rivers State, INEC is under heavy pressure from the Director
General of the Buhari Campaign Organization and Minister of Transport,
Rotimi Amaechi, to post out and replace the State Resident Electoral
Commissioner (REC) as well as the Administrative Secretary.
This will be totally unacceptable, completely provocative and shall be
firmly resisted by the people even if the totality of our nation’s
security is deployed to Rivers State.
This is more so as results of all the state assembly elections in Rivers
state have been declared and winners had emerged.
The PDP cautions Prof. Yakubu and his INEC to perish the thoughts of
altering any figures for the APC and to immediately announce our winning
results in these states and others where our candidates clearly won,
going by the results already declared at the poling units, wards and
local government collation. Anything short of this will attract the
legitimate wrath of the people.
This is because Nigerians are already aware that elections have been
concluded in these states; results have been collated and declared at
the polling units, ward and local government collation centers and all
returning officers and political parties conclusively have the figures.
Prof. Yakubu must have noted how his name is becoming synonymous to
electoral manipulations, among Nigerians, and the fact that our citizens
and international community hold him responsible for the rigging of the
Presidential and other elections for the APC.
Today, majority of Nigerians and the global democratic institutions are
questioning the state of our democracy and electoral processes, which
have been under siege under the supervision of President Buhari and
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
In the light of these INEC’s manipulative tendencies, PDP therefore
charges our 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 our mandate as freely given by the
people at the polling units across the nation.
Ologbodiyan’s claims and accusations have been dismissed as unfounded by Prince Tonye Princewill a leading member of the APC in Rivers. His stance is no different from the Director of Strategic Communications of the Buhari Presidential Campaign, Mr. Festus Keyamo. Both men think PDP members are sore losers.
“What the PDP is saying invariably is that it can accept results where it won. How can you go into a contest with that kind of mindset. We have evidence that in states like Delta, Akwa Ibom where the APC was taken to the cleaners, there was collusion with INEC officials to undo the APC, but we have taken it in our stride. Look at at the calibre of influencers and leaders in those States that changed political party loyalty to the APC, yet we lost. In Akwa Ibom, we lost the three senatorial seats and the 10 seats in the House of Representatives. That is unbelievable. But if the tables were turned, the PDP would have been screaming blue murder to high heavens. We was all the propaganda about use of ‘federal might’? Rather we had the tyranny of the minority in Akwa Ibom.”
The show of confidence and preparedness displayed by Kano State governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Abba Kabir Yusuf is the kind of attitude that will change the polity. Yusuf told journalists in Kano that he will still win the re-run election after the Independent National electoral Commission (INEC) declared the state’s governorship election as inconclusive on Monday.
Yusuf assured his teaming supporters of victory in the forthcoming gubernatorial by-election, which is yet to be scheduled my the INEC.
His spokesman, Sanusi Bature Dawakin-Tofa said Yusuf had accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of massive rigging which resulted to over-voting and eventual cancellation of 172 polling units.
“Kano people have seen glaringly, how the enemies of democracy who are high ranking officials of the state Government, including serving Deputy Governor, Nasiru Gawuna, Commissioner Murtala Garo and Nassaraw Local Government Chairman Lamin Sani Kawaji vandalized an election collation centre with a sole aim of truncating the declaration process to deny PDP’s victory,” the statement reads in part.
The gubernatorial candidate also alleged that PDP reliably gathered that over 500 cartons of ballot papers were printed by Kano State Printing Press, syndicated to various polling units across the state, adding that over 10 cartons of the ballot paper were arrested by the Police.
“It is our prayer that all election offenders would be charged to courts at the earliest best time to serve as a deterrence for all anti democracy.
“We call on all supporters to remain calm, we are known to be peace lovers and so we shall remain, as we are very sure of victory during the rerun.
“Our supporters should not forget that PDP is already leading in the last count of the election and interestingly, the bye election would take place in the strongest areas of our party,” he said
He added that, “We urge everyone to keep hope alive on our guest to rescue Kano from the hands of corrupt leaders and agents of distraction,”
The former Commissioner for Works in the state, therefore called on the people living in the areas where the re-run election would take place to cast their votes for PDP, expressing hope that the party would still emerge victorious in the polls.
Princewill further argued, “there is a set of rules governing any contest. It is assumed that the contestants have agreed to play by the rules before they signed up. INEC has been very unfair to the APC in Rivers, but at every step we have kept the peace. We always seek redress from the lawful quarters. We can’t have a free-for-all otherwise we are still in a jungle. PDP has to learn to be in the opposition. It looks like that is going to be its assigned role for a long time.”