House charges INEC on inconclusive elections

Lawan Hamidu, Abuja

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The Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has been urged to adhere strictly to the constitutional provision on election matters to promote credibility of the electoral process.

The House of Representatives made the appeal in a motion at the plenary on Wednesday over the inconclusive elections in the governorship elections held last Saturday.

Presenting the motion under matters of urgent public importance, Mr. Sunday Karimi from Kogi State, said the decision of the electoral body to declare election in five States as inconclusive is causing apprehension and eroding the confidence of the electorates in the commission.

Mr. Karimi added that “Elections were declared inconclusive despite the fact that leading candidates having met the provision of section 179/2 of the constitution, thereby causing apprehension, insecurity and eroding the confidence of the electorates in the commission.

The commission is now seen as a bias umpire in the election due to consistent declaration of election as inconclusive.”

Mr. Karimi stressed that the electoral guideline used to declare the elections inconclusive contravenes sections 134, 179 and 111 of the constitution that provide for emergence of winner in governorship election.

Contributing to the debate on the motion, Mr. Diri Doye from Bayelsa State stressed on the need for the country to adopt the use of E-Voting system to achieve an acceptable poll.

“Part of the problems of inconclusive election is this House and this 8th Assembly.

“Mr. Speaker and my esteemed colleague I said so because when we have to do something right at that point we see ourselves as APC we see ourselves as PDP and we leave the fact that we are Nigerians and as Nigerians we represent the people of this country.

“Mr. Speaker, Honourable Colleagues, no matter how we speak, no matter how we shout here, everything still lies with us. If we decide to do what is right for this country it is high time we forget about manual voting, we have to go E-Voting, we have to go Electronic Voting,”  Mr. Doye stressed.

Also contributing, the House Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila said INEC’s decision to declare those elections inconclusive does not in any way contravene the constitution urging members to work towards amending the electoral laws to serve the country better.

“We have to amend the law the Supreme Court has interpreted. Nobody want an inconclusive elections, but in doing that, in declaring whether lections is inconclusive, I think the guiding principle which we all mouth here, the guiding principle all over the world and we are all witness is to, what happened in Florida in the United States some years ago when you have the case of the hanging chart and they painstaking were counting with microscope. Thus the guiding principle is that every vote must count. That’s the guiding principle, every vote must count.

“So those that were declared conclusive and those were declared inconclusive the issue is that at the end of the day, no body must be disenfranchised and that should be our guiding principle,” Mr. Gbajabiamila added.    

Other members who spoke on the motion suggested constitution of a committee to investigate the issue of inconclusive elections in the country.

Following the cancellation of results in some wards and local governments in Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Kano and Sokoto States, INEC declared the governorship elections in those States inconclusive, questioning the neutrality of the electoral body especially among the opposition parties.

Omolayo.A