INEC suspends supplementary elections in Bauchi, Adamawa

Citing court order and interlocutory injunctions, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended tomorrow’s supplementary elections in Bauchi and Adamawa states.
Also, collation of results in Rivers State, which was suspended on March 10, will resume on April 2, and will last for four days.
INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, who briefed journalists in preparation for the Saturday’s supplementary elections, said the exercise would hold in 18 states.
He noted that out of 29 states where governorship elections were conducted on March 9, INEC has made returns in 22.

“While the election was suspended in Rivers, it was declared inconclusive in six states namely Bauchi, Adamawa (North East); Benue and Plateau (North Central) and Sokoto and Kano (North West).

“The supplementary governorship election earlier scheduled to hold in Bauchi State is now a subject of litigation which was initiated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Mohammed A. Abubakar.

“An interlocutory injunction to suspend the process has been served on the commission by the Federal High Court, Abuja.
“While the commission has complied in accordance with its policy to obey all court orders in deference to the rule of law, it has also taken urgent steps to vacate the order and dismiss the action,” Okoye disclosed.
He however noted that the litigation and consequential order only affect the collation of results for the governorship election in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area, adding that the supplementary elections would proceed as scheduled in the other 15 local government areas of Bauchi State as well as the Kirfi state constituency supplementary election in Kirfi Local Government Area.
Okoye disclosed that an Adamawa State High court issued an injunction restraining the commission from proceeding with the supplementary election following the application by one of the political parties, the Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD), which did not take part in the main election.
“While the commission has also complied with the order, it has equally taken steps to vacate it and dismiss the action. “Notwithstanding the legal action over the supplementary governorship election, elections will hold in Nassarawo/Binyeri state constituency in Mayo-Belwa Local government area where the election had to be countermanded following the death of a candidate before the polls, as well as the supplementary state constituency election and Uba/Gaya State Constituency in Hong Local Government Area,” he said.

He disclosed that the timelines for the resumption and conclusion of the election in Rivers State began on March 19 with meeting with security agencies.
According to him, the commission would issue guidelines for resumption of collation of results on April 1, adding that the venue for collation of the results in Port Harcourt would be agreed upon by stakeholders.

He added that the commission would hold supplementary elections where necessary on April 13, at various locations while certificate of return would be issued on April 19 at INEC office in Port Harcourt.
On the contentious certificate of return for Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, the National Commissioner said that the commission would await the decision of the court since the governor has gone to court.
“He has taken his matter to the court and I think that it would be more prudent and more rational to wait for the outcome of the matter he has filed in court before we make any further comment.
“When a matter is pending in court, the best thing to do is not to prejudge the matter that is already in court but to allow the judicial process to run its course.
“If at the end of the day, the court makes an order that we should give him the certificate of return, of course the commission will obey such a court order.

“If on the order hand the court makes a different position and make other consequential orders in relation to the conduct of election in Imo West, we will also comply with whatever the court decides

“It is not only him, we also have a pending ones relating to Oju/Obi Federal constituency in Benue state, where we declined to issue a certificate of return to the person that was declared as the winner on grounds that the certificate of return was procured under duress and there is also another one in Akwa Ibom state.
“There are four of such cases where the commission declined to issue certificate of return to the winners on the ground that the result were provided under duress. So I think the commission has been consistent in relation to this matter.
“If you don’t exhibit good behaviour during elections or during collation process, the commission will not reward bad conduct.
“If any persons who disagrees with the actions we have taken, such an individual deserves the right to go before the election petition tribunal or before any court of his or her choice to state his or her grievances,” he further advised.

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