The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has faulted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for declaring governorship candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) Abba Kabir Yusuf, as winner in Saturday’s Kano state election.
The APC said INEC should have declared the exercise inconclusive.
The ruling party has, however, rejected the announcement of Abba Kabir Yusif of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) as winner of the said governorship election in Kano calling for immediate review of the election result by INEC within seven days.
Addressing a press conference Tuesday in Kano, the APC governorship candidate, Dr, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, who was in the company of party leaders, expressed surprise that with the same election, 16 of the House of Assembly elections held same day and same conditions were declared inconclusive by the electoral umpire.
Also speaking, the APC state chairman, Abdullahi Abbas, who was represented by the party’s legal adviser, Abdul Adamu Fagge, at the news briefing, said the election should be declared inconclusive because the cancelled votes were higher than the margin between the first and the second parties of NNPP and APC respectively as provided by the Electoral Act.
The party also drew attention to the cancellation of sixteen House of Assembly elections in the state, sighting violence as the reason, while the same votes were considered in collating the governorship election. It expressed dismay saying the two elections took place same day, same time, same places and under the same circumstances.
“The All Progressives Congress whose candidate, His Excellency, Dr. Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, was one of the candidates at the just concluded Gubernatorial Election held on 18th March, 2023, for Kano State extends appreciation to the youth, women, religious leaders, community leaders and all our supporters for their overwhelming support during the just concluded Gubernatorial Election held in Kano state, despite immense threats by members of the New Nigeria People’s Party (N.N.P.P.).
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) established to be an impartial body acted otherwise on 20th March, 2023 when it unlawfully declared and returned Abba Kabir Yusuf of the New Nigeria People’s Party (N.N.P.P.) as the winner of the election in suspicious circumstances.
In the course of collating the final results of the election, INEC found through its respective collation officers that there were cancellations of elections in several polling units as a result of over voting and violence across various Local Government Areas of Kano State and that the number of voters in the said polling units who have collected their permanent voters card (PVC) is 273,442 voters, which number is more than twice the margin of lead between the two main contenders in the election which is just 128,897.
“The Returning Officer in connivance with the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), instead of declaring the said Governorship Election for Kano State as inconclusive, went ahead to declare Abba Kabir Yusuf as the winner. In so doing, the Returning Officer mysteriously went into seclusion for about two hours and after surfacing, mischievously came up with the idea that all the votes cancelled as a result of violence should not be counted while managing the margin of lead principle. He relied on item 2 of the Table contained at page 93 of the Manual for Election Officials, 2023 in spite of the fact that the Returning Officer was instantly cautioned and guided not to misapply item 2 in the circumstances, that it is rather item 6 that should be applied because election materials were deployed and election commenced and during the process there was violence which disrupted the process and Forms EC40G series were respectively filled at the affected polling units. Surprisingly, the Returning
Officer insisted and misapplied item 2 despite all caution. The action of the Returning Officer has therefore disenfranchised the 273,442 persons who have collected their PVCs and are ready to cast their votes at the various
affected polling units.
“The declaration made by Returning Officer is contrary to the combined provisions of Section 24, 51 of the Electoral Act, 2022, Article 62 of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Election, 2022, and items 4.2.16, Note 32 at page 84 and item 6 of the Table at page 93 of the Manual for Election Officials, 2023 which made it mandatory that whenever the disenfranchised voters who have collected their permanent voters card (PVC) outweighs the margin of lead between the candidates with the highest number of valid votes cast and his runner up, the commission will declare the said election as inconclusive and order for a rerun election at a further date. This is best electoral practice already established and followed by the Commission in several states both at the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on 25th February, 2023 as well as the just concluded Governorship and State House of Assembly elections held on 18th March, 2023, in line with the dictate of the law, impartiality and respect for due process and the rule of law.
“Specifically, 16 of the Houses of Assembly elections held on the same date, same venue, same process and same circumstances with the Governorship election have been declared inconclusive by INEC. It invariably follows that whatever violence, cancellation and inclusive that befalls on the House of Assembly election also befalls on the Governorship election.
“We have also earlier written a Petition in respect of two wards of Rogo Local Government on clear election malpractice and fabrication of votes. As at 3pm on 18th March, 2023, election materials were not deployed and INEC announced that the election has been postponed and voters returned to their various homes. Astonishingly, election materials were later deployed and stuffed with votes for the NNPP.
“The Returning Officer turned blind eyes and ignored this petition, included and acted on the fabricated votes. We therefore condemn in strong terms and vehemently reject the wrongful declaration and return of Abba Kabir Yusuf as the winner of the election by the Returning Officer.
“Based on the foregoing, our lawyers have already written to INEC National Headquarters under Section 65 of the Electoral Act, 2022 for review of the wrong, hasty and unlawful decision of the Returning Officer and reverse and set same aside, declare same as inconclusive as well as order that rerun election be conducted immediately. This way electoral justice will be done and seen to have been done.
“In the meantime, the party appeals to its teaming members and supporters to remain calm and peaceful in the face of the vandalization, arson and wanton destruction of the properties of the APC and its supporters by the Chieftains of the NNPP and their members in broad daylight.”