The Plateau state governorship election has been declared inconclusive by the returning officer Professor Richard Kimbir, reason being that the votes cancelled, 49,377 is in excess of the vote difference between the PDP and APC which stands at 44,929.
The returning officer, Professor Richard Kimbir making the announcement around three twenty on morning of Monday, eleven March said: “in line with the provision of section one seven nine sub sections two to five of the 1999 constitution as amended, I am constrained to say that the election to the governor of Plateau state is inconclusive.”
Professor Kimbir further explained that “the margin of lead, the difference between APC and the PDP, the APC was leading by forty four thousand nine hundred and twenty nine votes but when you compare that with the total number of votes cancelled of forty nine thousand three hundred and seventy seven this is far less than that margin, the law provides that if the margin of win is in excess of the figure recorded in form EC four zero three, proceed to enter the score of the candidates in form EC eight E but since that is not so I am constrained in doing that rather I will go to the G part of that which says where no candidate meets the requirement of majority of votes cast and electoral two thirds in four one B one and three above let me say that we didn’t have to go looking for two thirds of the votes cast because one condition has already been violated.”
“Now what will happen is that in twenty one days in line with the provisions of the constitution, INEC, will conduct supplementary election in Plateau state, let me also state for the avoidance of doubt that where the margin of lead difference between the two leading candidates is not in excess of total number of registered voters of the polling units were election was cancelled or not held in line with section twenty six and fifty three of the electoral act, the returning officer shall declain to make a return, until polls have taken place in the affected polling units and the results incorporated into new form EC eight E and subsequently recorded in form EC eight E for declaration and return, so ladies and gentlemen I thank you for your patience and contribution throughout this exercise, it is painful we couldn’t declare a governor, the process continues.”
The returning officer also asked the agents present to sign the result sheets before collecting copies for their parties, all agents present signed except the agent of the PDP, Istifanus Gyang who left the collation centre before the final declaration.
The All progressives congress polled five hundred and eighty three thousand two hundred and fifty five to the People’s Democratic Party’s five hundred and thirty eight thousand three hundred and thirty six votes to lead twenty three other political parties.
This means incumbent Governor Simon Lalong and his closest rival Senator Jermaiah Useni of the People’s Democratic Party must return to the electorates to decide on who occupies government house at little rayfield. The declaration put a damper on the celebration of the APC who gathered around the INEC premises with loud music dancing nad singing praises of their candidate, Governor Simon Lalong, now they have to wait for another twenty one days or more.
This is the first time the governorship election in Plateau state is declared inconclusive in the history of Nigeria’s democratic journey.
The ball is now in INEC’s, court to set a date for the supplementary election in twenty one days.