INEC Resumes Collation of Results in Rivers, Bauchi

INEC Resumes Collation of Results in Rivers, Bauchi

…Accuses Soldiers, Armed Gangs of Disrupting Polls The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will resume the collation of results in Rivers and Bauchi states which were suspended on account of violence, frowning at the antics of soldiers and armed gangs who disrupted the polls.. INEC said that results from 17 Local Government

…Accuses Soldiers, Armed Gangs of Disrupting Polls

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will resume the collation of results in Rivers and Bauchi states which were suspended on account of violence, frowning at the antics of soldiers and armed gangs who disrupted the polls..

INEC said that results from 17 Local Government areas out of 23 in Rivers governorship election are available and in the Commission’s custody.

The Commission disclosed this in a statement issued at the weekend by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye after its meeting on Friday where it considered the report of the Fact-Finding Committee set up to assess the situation in Rivers where election process was suspended.

The Commission had on March 10, suspended all electoral processes in Rivers having determined that there was widespread disruption of collation of results of the elections conducted in the state on March 9.

Subsequently, the Commission set up a Fact-Finding Committee to assess the situation and report back within 48 hours.

Okoye said that the Commission met on Friday and considered the report of the Committee and established that the Governorship and state House of Assembly elections took place in most of the polling units and results were announced.

“That the results from 17 Local Governments out of 23 are available and are in the Commission’s custody.

“That the Declaration and Returns for 21 State Constituencies out of 32 were made prior to the suspension.”

“That collation centres were invaded by some soldiers and armed gangs resulting in the intimidation and unlawful arrest of election officials thereby disrupting the collation process,” he said.

Okoye said that consequently upon the foregoing, the Commission was committed to expeditious completion of the collation process where results of the elections had been announced.

The national commissioner said that INEC would issue detailed timelines and activities for the completion of the election on Wednesday, March 20.

He added that the Commission expressed its displeasure with the role played by some soldiers and armed gangs in the state, disrupting the collation process and attempting to subvert the will of the people.

Okoye said the Commission also resolved that it “will engage the security agencies at national level and the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee at the state level to demand neutrality and professionalism of security personnel in order to secure a peaceful environment for the completion of the elections.”

“The commission will also engage with key stakeholders in Rivers State with a view to ensuring a smooth and peaceful completion of the process.”

INEC has also cancelled the supplementary governorship election earlier scheduled to hold in Bauchi state and also said it will resume collation of results in the state on March 19, 2019.

The electoral umpire had slated a supplementary election for March 23 following the disruption of the collation of the March 9 governorship and state assembly elections in the state.

According to INEC, a report on the electoral process in the state was considered on March 12, 2019, which detailed the disruption of the process at the Tafawa Balewa collation centre, which led to the cancellation of results for the entire LGA.

The Commission also says it will replace the collation/returning officer for Tarawa Balewa Local Government Area (LGA) in the state.

Mrs. Dominion Anosike, the returning officer for Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area in the governorship election, had written to INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, requesting to appear before the Committee set up to investigate what led to the cancellation of the results of the election, over threat to her life.

Okoye noted that committee was set up by the Commission to investigate the incident.

The Investigation Committee came out with the following findings:

“That Governorship and State Assembly elections were held on 9th March, 2019, in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area and the votes scored by candidates were announced at the polling units and collated at the 11 registration areas of the local governments.

“Halfway into the Local Government collation, armed gangs attacked the collation centre and destroyed the Local Government Result Sheet (EC8C) and some collated results from the registration areas. The results for seven out of 11 registration areas for governorship, and six out of 11 for state assembly elections were affected.

“INEC guidelines provide that where violent disruption affects collation in this manner, results should be regenerated from duplicate copies on a replacement result sheet.

“The collation officer, under pressure from party agents who could not wait for the arrival of the replacement result sheet, decided to collate the result on an available RA result sheet, instead of the replacement LGA result sheet.”

“When the result was presented at the state governorship collation centre, the Returning Officer rejected the regenerated result because it was on a wrong result sheet.”

“The investigation committee established that the result for polling units and registration areas are available and in safe custody.”

“The Investigation Committee also established that the number of cancelled votes for the four polling units in Ningi Local Government Area, which was recorded as 25,330 in form EC40G (1) was incorrect. The actual figure is 2,553.”

The Commission, thereafter, resolved to resume collation as the results for Tafawa Balewa LGA are available. The collation of results would resume on Tuesday, February 19, 2019.

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