Bauchi Governor frowns at INEC’s decision on gubernatorial election

Timothy Choji, Abuja

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Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar says the decision taken by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC to continue the collation of votes for the gubernatorial election in the state is not good for Nigeria’s democracy.

He made his feelings known while speaking to Journalists at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday, after briefing President Muhammadu Buhari on the matter.

He said: “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 the independent and electoral commission 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 what has the potential of touching on the security of the state and it is paramount.”

The Governor stressed the path being towed by INEC is extra illegal.

“Of course it is definitely extra illegal. 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.”

When asked if he was in the State House to seek Presidential intervention on the matter, he said: “No no no. I said I came to brief Mr. President; 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.”

Shedding more light on the action he has so far taken, Governor Abubakar said he is seeking legal redress as advised by the President.

“One of which is that I am 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 stated.

On the security of the state, following the alleged killing of an Army Officer there recently, the Governor said security agencies were on top of the situation.

“We are on top of the situation, thank God. We have since ordered the van on procession in the metropolis and things are very calm,” he said. 

Bauchi State was earlier scheduled for Saturday’s supplementary election, following the tampering of results for Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of the State but that decision was later rescinded by INEC, choosing to continue with collation of results instead, a move the Governor is now kicking against.